Friday, June 26, 2015

Sarasota Sister Cities Wins Prestigious International Award Two Years in a Row

It is with great pride that I inform you that the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota, Inc. has been notified by Sister Cities International that they are the winners of the 2015 Innovation Award: Arts and Culture (Population Less than 100,000). The award will be presented at the Sister Cities International 59th Annual Conference in Minneapolis on July 18. This award follows the receipt of the 2014 Innovation Award: Energy/  Sustainability (Population Less than 100,000).

This award recognized the ongoing Sarasota Sister Cities Program that integrates with the Florida Studio Theater's Young Playwrights Award and with students and teachers from Sarasota's Sister Cities. Florida Studio Theater trained teachers in instructing students in play writing in Dunfermline, Scotland; Tel Mond, Israel; and Vladimir. In turn, these students now submit plays to the Young Playwrights Competition.

These students have been regular winners and honorable mention recipients. For example, two Vladimir students and one Tel Mond student won this 2015. Likewise, in 2014 two Dunfermline students, one Tel Mond, and one Vladimir student won the contest. Sister Cities then hosts these students allowing them to see their plays professionally performed at Florida Studio Theater.

Students are also given an introduction to the City. This year they met with Mayor Willy Shaw and visited a variety of Sarasota institutions.

While this is an honor for all of the organization, those Sister Cities members who assisted with the program through the years deserve special credit. These include Linda Rosenbluth, City Director, Tel Mond, Israel; Pauline Mitchell, City Director, Dunfermline, Scotland; and Yulyiya Gaukhman, City Director, Vladimir; their committees;and Ron Gossett, Vice President Arts and Culture.

Recognition should also be given to Kate Alexander Associate Director of FST, who initiated program with SC in 2001 and Adam Ratner, Young Playwrights Festival Coordinator/Lead Teaching Artist.