Originally published in Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
By Paul Seed
When I first came to Sarasota during the pandemic, looking for a seasonal place in Florida to enjoy, I was immediately struck by the city’s vibrant arts scene.
I attended my first concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall soon after arriving and quickly fell in love with Sarasota as a place to hear great music. I explored the events calendar and went to close to 20 shows there within a few months.
When I learned that the city of Sarasota was working with the Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation – also known as the Van Wezel Foundation – to plan a new performing arts center that will be one of the best in the country, I was all in.
I am proud that the Paul Seed Fund at KBF Canada is providing a $10 million gift to help cover thearchitecture and design-related costs for the new performing arts center. It’s a way to show my love forthe performing arts and do my part to make a difference in this great city.
The arts inspire the human spirit in ways that are hard to articulate, and this project will be transformational for our community for years to come. I am particularly excited about what the new facility, with its best-in-class acoustics and technology, will mean for musical performances. Another exciting aspect is that visitors outside the center, in The Bay Park, will also be able to enjoy live performances broadcasted to a simulcast wall.
I’ve always had a passion for music, and I must admit that I once secretly wanted to be a rock star. I continue to take guitar lessons and while I’ve come to terms that I’m better at being an entrepreneur than a famous musician, I want to support a center that will provide arts and culture to everyone in the community.
The success of my company, StarTech.com, has given me the ability to think about how to give back – andI can’t think of a better cause to support than this new performing arts center. The Van Wezel facility has had a great run, as they say in show business, but it can’t be retrofitted to offer the features and accessibility that a modern facility can provide.
Whether the existing facility is repurposed – and if so, how – should be a separate conversation. I am focused on supporting a new facility that promises to bring world-class architecture and features to our community. The arts attract new residents and investment to this city every day – I am a good example of that. The new facility will only enhance Sarasota’s reputation as a city for the arts.
I encourage my fellow community members to get behind this project and find ways to show their support. It will give our children and grandchildren a place to be proud of as they enjoy shows long after we are gone. Building that legacy is what matters most.
Paul Seed is a member of the Longboat Key community and recently announced a $10 million gift to the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation.