Visitors come from far and wide to experience Sarasota's unique art culture. The historic districts of Palm Avenue and Main Street are lined with art galleries in addition to the expansive pink castle that is the Ringling Museum of Art. There's no limit to the amount of galleries in the area, so we've created this list of some of the best fine arts galleries Sarasota to help guide you on your journey of art appreciation in this city.
By far the largest and most renowned art museum in Sarasota, the Ringling Museum of Art was founded by circus man John Ringling as a means of establishing a legacy beyond The Big Top. The museum building itself is breathtaking and is built to resemble a Renaissance palace with 21 galleries surrounding an expansive courtyard. The museum full of pieces from Ringling’s personal collection as well as other pieces that have been collected over the years. Some of the collections include antiquities, Asian art, European and American Art, Circus artifacts, and modern and contemporary art.
The Ringling Museum of Art arguably has one the best art collections in Florida, which is why it owns title of "Art Museum of the State." The best part about this museum, however, is that it features exhibits for all ages. If you're tired of dragging your young ones through art exhibits, then the Ringling is the place for your family. Not only can you see the beautiful masterpieces of the world’s best Renaissance painters, but you can also bring your kids to see the vibrant pieces of the circus collection that is as beautiful as it is engaging. Going to the Ringling is overall perfect for a family outing and is a definite must while in Sarasota.
Related content: The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota
In addition to founding one of the nation’s best art museums, Ringling also founded a renowned school of art. The Ringling College of Art and Design began in 1931 and helps students with creative talents pursue a career in the arts. Ringling students and alumni have the ability to display and sell their pieces in the madeby gallery, which is in the heart of campus and showcases pieces of today’s artists. This gallery have everything from paintings and jewelry to ceramics and cards on display, so you'll find all kinds of art forms to appreciate. The madeby gallery is an awesome stop if you want to see pieces of this generation’s art culture.
Located in the heart of Historic Palm Avenue, this art exhibit is an ideal destination on a hot Florida day. Many of the pieces are focused on Florida landscapes, marine art, still life, and wildlife. They have a wide array of art that will definitely contribute to your collection whether you need one piece for your house or want to add to the many. Even if you're not looking to buy, the gallery is the perfect place to escape the heat while appreciating the talent of today’s artists.
Another stop on your way through Historic Palm Avenue, the Dabbert Gallery features some of the city’s finest paintings and sculpture in a stunning space. The gallery is lined with windows and pulls you in at first glance. Once you enter this bright, sun-lit space, you'll see vibrant paintings lining the wall from artists such as Vladimir Nasonov and Joe Palmerio. Each painting has unique character, and many are inspired by Florida scenery and sights, making them the perfect purchase during your visit to Sarasota.
The Alfstad& Contemporary art gallery is housed in the historical Ace Theatre building that was renovated in 2015 according to the needs of the artists. In order to get the job done right, the owners partnered with the artists to create multidimensional art and exhibitions. The result is a beautiful interior with sprawling white walls lined with exposed brick columns. The space has two exhibition spaces, a video screening room, and a print-making studio. This gallery is a necessary stop for any art enthusiast!
Native Michigan artist Valerie Anne Thomson opened up a gallery to display her one-of-a-kind acrylic and oil canvas paintings. Her style is that of an abstract expressionist artist, featuring bright colors smashed together to create beautiful pieces. Even if you know nothing about art, you'll be able to appreciate the simplistic beauty of her pieces. If you know a thing or two about art, you'll definitely appreciate her skill and talent as well.
Since 1980, the Art Uptown Gallery has been welcoming guests to peruse pieces as they walk up and down Main Street Sarasota. Its collections are comprised of many artistic medias including collage, photography, glass, bronze, and pastels. They have anything and everything from sculptures to still life paintings. Make sure to visit this gallery on the first Friday of every month as the artists themselves host an event and greeting you as you walk through the door. This is a great opportunity to learn the story behind each painting straight from the artist, which adds something special to the experience.
Stop by Florida’s historic Burns Court to check out the 530 Burns Gallery. The gallery features contemporary pieces of all mediums so visitors can see a little bit of everything. Make sure to check out their rotating collections that cycle through every two months to see the newest pieces from today’s great artists. This quaint gallery is definitely worth visiting while you're in Sarasota.
With so many galleries in the city, you have numerous places to appreciate art in Sarasota.
Cover photo courtesy of Flickr