Other Educational Programs

The Van Wezel teaches in, through, and about the arts

  • Total Access is a program designed to provide local families with young children the opportunity to experience several live performances at the Van Wezel over the course of the season free of charge. Families facing financial challenges are recruited by our community partners, e.g., Boys & Girls Clubs and Laurel Civic Association, based on questionnaires completed by parents and children expressing their desire to make a commitment to participate in the program for one year.

    Families select their shows at the beginning of the season, much like the Van Wezel's many dedicated subscribers, and pick their tickets up on the night of the show. Total Access also includes pre-show dinners for families provided by Mattison's Bayside at the Van Wezel, which make each of the performance evenings a memorable family event. The Van Wezel is particularly interested in families with children who are interested in pursuing the arts, in order to provide encouragement for them to follow their dreams. After each show, families are required to complete and return a family survey to help us measure the impact of the program.

    Comments from parents have been extremely positive and heartwarming, and the Van Wezel is very grateful to our partners and supporters that so many children have been able to participate. Total Access to the Arts has been generously supported by the Cordelia Lee Beattie Foundation since 2010.

  • Designed to reach local seniors who might normally not have the ability to attend our performances, Senior Access allows the Van Wezel to provide meaningful arts experiences and promote healthy ages. Through partnerships with Casa Santa Marta, Jefferson Center, and JFCS, the Van Wezel encourage social activity and life-long exploration of the arts.

  • Military Access is a program building on the success of the Van Wezel's Total and Senior Access programs. Military Access honors current and past members of our military and provides opportunities for a therapeutic and engaging experience. Military Access shows appreciation and enhances well-being by giving Veterans, Active Military, their families the experience of attending a professional live performance at no cost to them.

    The Van Wezel partners with organizations serving these individuals to identify and register participants. Benefits of the program include:

    1. Recognizing and honoring the sacrifices made by veterans and families of active military and honoring them through a special opportunity;
    2. Creating special family memories of experiencing the arts, which allow for increased family communication and well-being;
    3. Increasing the sense of pride and improving quality of life of veterans;
    4. Providing one-in-a-lifetime experiences for families of deployed soldiers and Veterans;
    5. Strengthening community ties and awareness;
    6. Establishing a love of the arts within NEW audiences

  • This ongoing partnership between Oak Park School and Lakeview Elementary School 2nd graders provides opportunities for inclusion and shared learning experiences for students with and without disabilities. Through the program, students from the two schools will attend a shared Schooltime Performance, and participate in a shared arts based activity to foster dialogue, creativity, and an understanding of their peers.

    During the 2020-2021 Schooltime Performances season, the Van Wezel received a contract from the Kennedy Center - VSA Performing Arts Access for Kids Program to provide complete access to the arts and arts activities for 350 students with disabilities from the Oak Park School and other local schools serving students with disabilities.

  • This FREE outdoor summer concert series runs June-September and features local musicians. Held outside on Van Wezel's Bayfront lawn beautiful views, delicious food sold by local vendors, and great music, Friday Fest is a family friendly way to experience the best of Sarasota each summer. Watch our events page for dates and bands!