Another first ever for Patriot Plaza! This year the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County sponsored the first ever InspireSarasota! 2016 — a series of arts, cultural events and activities taking place over a two week time period. On Saturday, October 29 Patriot Plaza held one of the many events and activities for the community to experience. An Inspirational Walk, located at Patriot Plaza in the Sarasota National Cemetery featured a Patriotism through Art and Architecture Open House. Trained Patriot Plaza Guides gave tours of the amazing artwork found at this unique outdoor amphitheater to individuals and families who came out to experience this lasting tribute to veterans and their families.
Two of the Guides along with local musicians shared their amazing talents with everyone present. Seasoned Patriot Plaza Guide Bonnie Caplan, played patriotic music on her beautiful harp; Harry Moses, one of our newest Guides, also is a member of the Venice Theatre Silver Foxes, shared a short dramatic piece that he wrote: I AM YOUR FLAG — a patriotic salute to the American Flag. Additionally, Carol Pettingill played her harmonica and Ray Hodges, Debbie Hood and Bill Vinhage from Soldier Songs and Voices played their guitars and sang.
Lots of wonderful information was shared with the visitors to Patriot Plaza thanks to Hoyt Architects, the Florida Gulfcoast Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and several initiatives from The Patterson Foundation including the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Age Friendly Sarasota.
Some visitors who came out to see the art and architecture interpreted their own stories inspired from viewing the existing works of art displayed on the grounds. Others lingered to read sixteen Georgia white marble tablets in the Testimonies area, each telling stories in word and image about serving in the military and being in a military family.
The Testimonies area contains pairs of tablets that are recessed along the north walkway. Each tablet is designed around a single word identified by veterans as descriptive of the military. There are three stories on each tablet: a photograph etched on a laminated glass “window”; an etched drawing by the artist based on a photograph; and the words of those who have served, supported and sacrificed in the military life. Images and texts from various eras are combined within each tablet, emphasizing the commonalities of military life throughout history.
Judy, wife of a US Air Force veteran, decided just that morning to bring her teenage grandson, Harry, out to Sarasota National Cemetery. Harry was concerned that Judy and her husband, married 57 years, wanted to be buried at the national cemetery in Sarasota, so far away from the rest of their family living in Indiana. Judy wanted Harry to see in person why the cemetery, with Patriot Plaza, meant so much to them. She told Harry that she feels peace there, and now he seemed to understand.
If you missed the Inspirational Walk last weekend, come out to Patriot Plaza any Tuesday morning at 10am for a free guided tour. To schedule a private tour for your friends or family, contact the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County directly to make arrangements.
Inspire Sarasota! will host the InspireSarasota! Festival Saturday, November 5 in downtown Sarasota at Five Points Park. Enjoy live performances and engage with different booths to learn about upcoming activities for all ages.
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