Sarasota Performing Arts Center Architect Selection Task Force Shortlists Six Top Architects to Design New Performing Arts Center

Architect selection task force, pictured from left to right: Michele Hooper, Mary Bensel, Mark Famiglio, Dr. Jenne K. Britell.

Pictured from left to right: Michele Hooper, Mary Bensel, Mark Famiglio, Dr. Jenne K. Britell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2023

CONTACT:  Caroline Korba, [email protected]

(Sarasota, FL) — Today, the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation, formerly known as the Van Wezel Foundation, and the City of Sarasota announced that the Architect Selection Task Force selected six semi-finalists out of the 18 shortlisted candidates who were invited to submit proposals to be architect for the new Performing Arts Center. The Architect Selection Task Force, composed of four distinguished community members, was charged with narrowing the pool of applicants and reviewing proposals (RFP). The six firms selected to advance are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Foster + Partners Limited, Gehry Partners LLP, Henning Larsen, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Snøhetta.

The narrowing of contenders comes on the heels of the announcement of a $10 million contribution from the Paul Seed Fund at KBF CANADA to the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation to support the architect and design team in building the project.

“Thank you to the Task Force for their exceptional work in selecting the semi-finalists,” said City of Sarasota Manager Marlon Brown. “Their dedication and meticulous effort in choosing the best of the best firms from around the world will have a profound impact on the Sarasota community. This project will undoubtedly establish Sarasota as a cultural destination of international renown, and the Performing Arts Center will be a source of inspiration and pride for generations to come.”

The architect selection process kicked off in October with its first of six public Task Force meetings. Funded through an appropriation from the State of Florida, the Task Force meetings have been held to discuss applicants’ qualifications and submissions. There were submissions from 43 world-renowned architecture firms in response to the RFQ and, the Task Force previously winnowed the firms to the 18 invited to submit proposals. During the next meeting, which is scheduled to take place in May, the Task Force will further winnow the field to a minimum of three finalists who will come to Sarasota for in-person interviews.

“Our rigorous review process for selecting the architect for the new Performing Arts Center is a reflection of our unwavering commitment to position Sarasota as a top-tier arts destination,” said Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation Board Vice Chair and Chair of Architect Selection Task Force Jenne Britell. “With the narrowing of our candidate pool, we are getting closer to accomplishing our vision for a world-class facility that will be a hub for creativity and innovation. Together with the City of Sarasota, we are building a place for the arts that will inspire and enrich audiences for years to come.”

Learn more about the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation.

Visit for more facts about the project.

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