Sarasota residents express concern about performing arts center plan

Tony Stone is the grandson of Lewis Van Wezel, who helped the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall become a reality.  Stone is concerned about the future of the hall.

Tony Stone is concerned about his grandfather’s enduring legacy – the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.


Stone’s grandfather, Lewis Van Wezel, and his wife, Eugenia, donated a significant portion of the cost of building the iconic purple hall. The couple supported the arts in Sarasota.

Stone, who lives in Bradenton, said that earlier this year, he learned from a friend that the fate of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall could be in jeopardy.

“It was shocking, I think,” he said. “We just assumed it was a rock, it was a solid element in our family’s legacy.”

Stone is one of many area residents who are concerned with the city of Sarasota’s plan to, in partnership with the nonprofit Van Wezel Foundation, build a new arts hall on Sarasota Bay, which will be called the Sarasota Center for the Performing Arts.

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