Van Wezel Partners with FAM Project

For immediate release: January 6, 2020
Contact: Natasha Herrera 941-263-6751


Sarasota, FL (January 6) – The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall’s Education & Community Engagement Department and the Van Wezel Foundation announce all-new virtual resources for educators: Feelings Addressed Mindfully, known as the FAM Project. 

With a focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL), the FAM Project allows educators to explore the intersection of mindfulness, mental health and the arts during the challenging climate that students and families are facing today. The mission of this project is to help students feel better so they can learn better. FAM Van Wezel Teaching Artists will teach through a series of on-demand videos exploring mindfulness, movement and drama. Students will explore the 5 CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) competences taught as part of the SEL curriculum: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making. Each module will address one of these critical core competencies. As students and teachers navigate each module, they will explore how artists use these competencies and how they can use them in everyday life.

“Learning an art form involves learning about yourself and others, as well as problem solving through creativity,” says Kelli Maldonado, Director of Education & Community Engagement. “It is a natural step to ask students to reflect on how these art making skills can be used in all areas of their lives.”

The program will launch with a two-part professional development opportunity for Sarasota and Manatee School District educators on January 13 and 14 from 5:30-7 p.m. Follow-up virtual workshops for classrooms with FAM teaching artists will be available starting in February. 

"We are thrilled to have our work presented by Schooltime at The Van Wezel. FAM is all about developing our emotional intelligence so we all have a better chance of becoming conscious creators and choice makers. We are very grateful to generous donors of the Van Wezel Foundation for bringing this work free of charge to students and teachers in Sarasota and Manatee." – Maria Schaedler-Luera, FAM Teaching Artist. Teaching artists for this initiative include Maria Schaedler-Luera (Drama), Stevey Jones (Writing) and Rachel Kelley (Movement).

Teachers and administrators can register now on a first come, first served basis for the virtual workshops here:

To learn more about the workshops, educators can reach out the Van Wezel’s Education & Community Engagement department at

This program is available at no cost to schools and community organizations through the generosity of donors of the Van Wezel Foundation. To support FAM and other meaning arts and education experiences, please visit

To watch a brief video about the FAM Project, click here.


A true pioneer in the cultural development of Sarasota, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall presents spectacular Broadway musicals, top national and international performers, popular comedians and a compelling mix of classical and dance productions. Owned and operated by the City of Sarasota, the Van Wezel celebrated its 50th Anniversary during the 2019-2020 season. The theater’s Education and Community Engagement Department serves over 35,000 students, teachers and family members each year, teaching them in, through and about the arts. In conjunction with the Van Wezel Foundation, the Van Wezel’s Education and Community Engagement Department has launched numerous virtual initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including virtual Schooltime Performances, Zoom Based workshops with teaching artists, and Artworks Anywhere, a series of free arts education videos available on demand to students, families and educators. To learn more, visit

Since 1987, the Van Wezel Foundation has partnered with the City of Sarasota to foster a connection between the people, the bay and the spirit of human creativity. The Foundation's mission is to create a world-class performing arts center that enriches the community, supports arts education and inspires young minds. Each year, the Foundation provides grants to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to support arts education throughout our region. Together, we serve more than 35,000 students with enriching arts-based education opportunities and professional development for more than 400 teachers across five counties. In 2018, the city of Sarasota approved a master plan to develop 53 acres on the Bayfront into a vibrant, accessible park with a new performing arts center at the heart of it. The Foundation is leading The Future is Now Campaign to help the community realize the promise of the master plan. To learn more about the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center and get involved, visit For more information on the Foundation and its mission, visit, or join us on Facebook and Instagram.



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