Photo: Resilience at Patriot Plaza

Strengthening Resilience with Partnerships

Posted on May 22, 2023 by Kellie Alexander, TPF Fellow 2022/23
Editor's Note: The mission of Patriot Plaza is simple: To provide a place to remember and reflect that honors veterans, inspires patriotism, and embraces freedom. Recognizing the power of art as a way to tell a story, several pieces play a prominent role in providing meaningful experiences. One installation is known as Testimonies. Featuring a photographic image encased in glass and a Georgia white marble tablet inscribed with an engraved drawing and text, "Testimonies" reflect the personal voices of those who have served, supported, and sacrificed across generations of military history. Over time, Over time, a few needed repair. Out of an abundance of caution, the manufacturer replaced all the laminated glass pieces. However, several were still in pristine condition. Our question was, what do we do while staying true to the mission of Patriot Plaza?

The Patterson Foundation team contacted local organizations and entities to find appropriate homes. To be eligible, the recipient needed to meet two criteria: provide a valuable service to our community and have a program that, in a meaningful way, honors veterans.

Attendees certainly felt part of something special and unique as "Resilience," one of the "Testimonies" from Patriot Plaza, was unveiled at Ringling College of Art and Design, thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation.

The opening speeches delivered by Dr. Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design, and Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, described the meaning and purpose of the dedication beautifully. With the understanding that resilience is essential in our world today, especially for those passionate about making a difference, it's the partnerships and connections that play a pivotal role in evolving and staying committed. Experience the dedication and unveiling in 3 minutes: Resilience Unveiled at Ringling College of Art and Design

Reflecting on relationship-building opportunities catalyzed because of the delaminated glass tablets, I recognize why TPF optimized on a situation that didn't go quite right and utilized it to further Patriot Plaza's reach and build trust in the community. The art may have been saved without connections, but it would not be in the community to inspire and honor. Again, I'm reminded of what's possible with an engaged culture of philanthropy.

You can tour the saved original glass tablets at Tidewell Hospice, Goodwill Manasota, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus, Sarasota Military Academy, and now on the second floor of the Ulla Searing Student Center on Ringling College of Art and Design's campus. Patriot Plaza, located in Sarasota National Cemetery, is also open daily with free admission and weekly tours available on Tuesdays at 10:00am.

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