SRQ DAILY Sep 2, 2021

SRQ DAILY Sep 2, 2021

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[Education] Selby Gardens Interns Part of Smithsonsian Initiative

A relationship with the Smithsonian connected leadership for the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens with interns from across the country this summer. It also allowed the Sarasota institution to be part of a pilot initiative and an effort to celebrate The Highwaymen, a celebrated collective of Black painters in Florida.

“It’s terrific. There are students who may not have been able to come here in person,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens. “It was just great to be able to collaborate in a broad way from across the country. It was a mutually beneficial effort. The interns gained experience, and for us, their involvement enriched our programming.”

The interns — Ania Ty of Oregon State University, Miles Mikofsky of the University of Chicago and Samantha Wetherell of the university of Arizona — interned from June 14 to Aug. 6. They were part of a The Smithsonian Affiliate Digital Learning and Engagement Internship, an initiatiave organized in partnership with the Emerson Collective.

To trace Selby’s involvement means looking back two years to when the botanical gardens became an official Smithsonian affiliate, becoming part of a national network of museums sharing educational and cultural resources. “Our affiliation with the Smithsonian was such a good fit for us because they are a research institution and of course have a long history as an arts and culture and a historical preservation entity,” Rominiecki said. In the intervening years, botanical researchers continued working with scientists through the Smithsonian and Selby increasingly served as a cultural venue in the city.

As for the pilot initiative this summer, the interns never came to Sarasota but worked closely with Selby professionals on the project “We Dream a World: African American Landscape Painters of Mid-Century Florida, The Highwaymen.” Ty worked to gather information on Mary Ann Carroll, the lone female painter in The Highwaymen. Mikofsky conductaed comparative work of The Highwaymen painters and heavy influence “Bean” Backus. Wetherell, meanwhile, focused on documenting the role the painting collective had on depicting Florida’s historic, natural landscape before development significantly altered it.

The efforts together contributed to a larger goal of building learning resources about The Highwaymen.

“This internship program is not only a gift for the students who are enrolled in it— it is a gift for all of us,” said Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president of the Emerson Collective. “By offering students from underestimated communities the chance to draw upon the Smithsonian Institution’s extraordinary collections, this collaboration is fostering a new and better understanding of our shared history while empowering a new generation of change agents.”

The three interns working with the Selby were among 75 students representing just under 60 colleges and universities.

“This pilot is about better understanding our reach and ability to activate youth around the country who would not otherwise have such opportunities,” said Jamie Van Leeuwen, director of youth and community engagement at Emerson Collective. “With the collective challenges we face as a country, it is critical now more than ever that we turn to our young leaders to help us respond to the needs of our communities.”

Image from Smithsonian.

[SRQ Thrifting Series] Second-Hand Vintage Furniture is Twice as Nice

As the first of a new weekly four-part series, we'll be rolling out different thrifting destinations for those local frugal shoppers to get their fair share of gently-used, recycled bargains.

Introduced in 1979 on what is now Fruitville and Lemon, Twice’s Nice is a secondhand furniture store known for its contemporary yet old-fashioned pieces. After 41 years in business, owner Debye Bernard has seen many changes to Sarasota and her business along with it. As people flock, she extends an open door to new customers of her home away from home. Even the store’s website is furnished with inventory so people can shop from afar (a rarity in the thrift realm). If you’re in the market for mid-century modern or real wood, Twice’s Nice is a must. “Our Heywood Wakefield furniture pulls people in like a magnet. They sit on it and reminisce about their lives as though they were on their own set,” she says. As a segment of a sentimental industry, she appreciates when customers share that they still have the furniture they purchased years ago, that her pieces have withstood the test of time. “It's just a matter of waiting for the right person to come in for the right item,” she says. The furniture is nostalgic, sustainable and gets better with age, not unlike Twice’s Nice.

Twice’s Nice, 1480 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, 941-366-2188,

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

[Interior Services] Create an Organization Station with Sarasota's Affordable Closets

We all have those days when life seems to be more of a junk drawer than a filing cabinet. Mornings when you open the kitchen cabinets like you’re playing dodge ball to avoid the falling debris. Evenings when hanging up a blouse is just too much to ask and the closet floor turns into a minefield of maybe-it’s-dirty-well-it-smells-clean-enough laundry. The house falls into mayhem and disgraces your Zoom background as you think to yourself in infomercial style: there has to be a better way. And now there is!

Enter the minimalist movement of 2021 or—at the very least—the appearance of minimalism, which may be even better. Once the pandemic hit and people couldn’t run away from the everyday chaos anymore, everything from extra storage to organization techniques, purging and donations skyrocketed into one of the few trends that practically guarantee the feeling of aahhh once you’ve completed your organization station. Professional organizers like Affordable Closets, the family-owned and operated custom storage company since 1999, will design storage solutions for your specific flavor of chaos, while also blogging ideas to keep up your organization momentum, like “3 Ways to Keep Your Laundry Room Organized” or “5 Simple and Affordable Ways to Update Your Office.” So whether it’s that pesky guest bedroom where visitors are forced to live out of their suitcases or the pantry that might be haunted with the rate things are falling off the shelves—it might be time to join in on the trend and whip that mess into shape.

Affordable Closets, 6320 Danner Dr., Sarasota, 941-926-7674,, @affordableclosetsinc.

Garage space organized by Affordable Closets. Photo courtesy of the company.

[Photography ] Conservation Foundation Announces People’s Choice Winners for Summer Photo Contest

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and presenting sponsor Elizabeth Moore announce the People’s Choice winners for their second annual Summer Photo Contest exhibit. Photographers of all ages and experience levels were invited to submit their original work showcasing the beauty of natural Florida. Jury members included presenting sponsor, Elizabeth Moore; noted photographer, Mary Lundeberg; noted photographer, Grant Jeffries; and fine art painter, Mary Louise O'Connell.

Over 300 entries were received for consideration. Following jury selection, community members were invited to vote for their favorites by liking/loving the images in the Conservation Foundation Summer Photo Contest Facebook gallery. Voting took place June 21 through August 21 and the most liked/loved image in each category received the honor of being recognized as People’s Choice. The photo with the most likes/loves overall received distinct recognition as People’s Choice Best in Show. With almost 1,000 likes on Facebook, the overwhelming winner was Diane Suner’s photograph, Sea Scallops at Sunrise.

“Photography is a uniquely personal way to connect with nature,” says Conservation Foundation President Christine P. Johnson. “It’s always a treat to look at the photos submitted and see how differently people view and experience our natural world. We congratulate this year’s winners and look forward to the continued growth of our annual virtual event.”

The full gallery can be viewed at or by visiting Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast on Facebook.

Image: Sea Scallops at Sunrise by Diane Suner

[Grants] Local Jewish Organizations Receive Almost $600K in Federal Security Grants

With the help of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee and its partnership with Secure Community Network (SCN), six local Jewish organizations have received substantial grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for security enhancements. Jewish Community Security Director, Jeff Solomon, who is SCN’s representative locally, was able to help facilitate the grant process. “I first conducted threat and vulnerability risk assessments at each of the organizations. I helped them create security committees and provided numerous grant training webinars to help them apply for the grants. I was happy to use all of the SCN resources available to facilitate the grant process.”

The grants were part of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program which provided $180 million for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofits around the country that are at a high risk of a terrorist attack. Of that amount, $2.7 million was provided to 50 organizations in Florida that are located in non-urban, rural areas such as Sarasota-Manatee.

[Expo] Let’s Get Healthy! Wellness Expos Coming to Tampa-Sarasota

Let’s Get Healthy Tampa Bay Wellness Expos, Florida Penguin Production’s annual wellness expo series is returning to Tampa Bay with four locations this September (Brandon, Sarasota, Clearwater & Citrus Park).

Each “Let’s Get Healthy! Wellness Expo” will feature 30-40 wellness-related resources and activations catered to patrons of all ages. From Geriatrics to Pediatrics, and holistic to modern, you'll see it all in one place. Activities include fitness demos, free health checks, healthy food and drink samples, product sampling stations, a Teddy Bear Giveaway sponsored by Florida Blue, and dozens of vendors on display including many of the top Health Insurance brands, chiropractors, mental health, government services, primary care, fitness, and healthy food and drinks.

Sarasota's expo date is set for Saturday, September 18, from 10am-2pm, at The Mall at University Town Center - 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota. Event info found here.

Sponsored by Florida Blue, Liberty Dental Plans, Life Guard Imaging, and Your CBD Store.

[Expansion] Fit2Run Fitness Store Expands in Bradenton

Get fitted, and get the perfect fit running or walking shoes, or bike, with the help of the Fit Experts at Fit2Run: The Runner’s Superstore and F2R Bike Shop opening in Bradenton this October. Locally owned and originally founded in Bradenton, Fit2Run is expanding with an updated design and layout in their hometown this fall. Fit2Run will open its newest store in Bradenton featuring new concepts to the brand. Along with the running and walking specialty items, the new store will include the F2R Bike Shop, carrying bicycles from brands like Specialized, Jamis, Fuji, Brooklyn Bicycle Co.,and more. The F2R Bike Shop in Bradenton will be a full-service bike shop offering bike sales and rentals, bike accessories, service, repair and bike fittings.

Unique to the Fit2Run Bradenton location will be the addition of Spokes, a beer and seltzer bar featuring local craft beer and a space for runners and cyclists to gather and connect before or
after a neighborhood run or ride. The bar will be designed in partnership with popular St. Petersburg brewery 3 Daughters Brewing. In addition to the new store in Bradenton, Fit2Run also operates 16 other locations throughout Florida and Puerto Rico. Including select locations with an added Bike Shop and Juice Bar. Runners all over the country can shop Fit2Run’s online store at

[Housing] Joint Affordable Housing Advisory Committee Votes to Move Forward with Action

The Sarasota Consortium Affordable Housing Advisory Committee has voted on the Local Affordable Housing Incentive Strategy recommendations to address affordable housing needs throughout Sarasota County. At its final meeting of the year on August 23, the committee reviewed the 12 required topics and made its recommendations on items related to funding, design and development of affordable housing projects. “There’s clearly a critical need for available workforce housing in Sarasota,” said Mayor Hagen Brody, the City Commission’s representative on the committee. “I appreciate all of our committee members who worked so diligently over the last several months to come up with some concrete steps that will make it easier for folks to live in this community they contribute so much to.”

The Sarasota Consortium Affordable Housing Advisory Committee consists of elected officials from the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County, various individuals representing stakeholder groups such as the building industry, banking, real estate, affordable housing providers and community advocates. The committee’s recommendations on the Local Affordable Housing Incentive Strategy will be presented to the City of Sarasota Commission and the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners later this fall for selection and adoption.

To learn more about affordable housing initiatives or the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, visit

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