BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Exploring the Van Wezel from the Art to the Stage

You've seen the artworks displayed on the walls of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on the way to your seats to enjoy a great show. Maybe you even stopped to admire a painting.

You may not have known these paintings and sculptures were created by noted Florida artists and are on loan from Arts Advocates, the Sarasota-based organization whose mission is to connect the community to the arts. A docent will take you on a tour of the paintings and sculptures including those by Robert Chase, William Hartman, Eugene White, Ben Stahl, Julio de Diego, Thornton Utz, Frank Colson, and Dean Mitchell, to name just a few.

Then you will step onto the stage where a Van Wezel guide will give you a peek behind the curtain to learn about the many hands that create thrilling shows for your enjoyment. You will see the ropes and pulleys that "fly" the scenery on and off the stage, the movable orchestra pit, dressing room, and loading dock where traveling shows back up their 18-wheelers to move their shows onto the stage. All the while you'll be dazzled by stories and anecdotes around the colorful world of showbusiness!

Tours are offered to the public from 1:30-3:00 pm on the following dates:

  • August 19, 2024
  • September 17, 2024
  • October 21, 2024
  • November 18, 2024
  • December 16, 2024
  • January 13, 2025
  • February 10, 2025
  • March 17, 2025
  • April 21, 2025
  • May 19, 2025

Tours begin in the Main Lobby and cost $15 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office or by calling (941) 263-6799. Proceeds benefit the Van Wezel's Education/Outreach Programs, Community Engagement and Arts Advocates. Private group tours can be arranged by calling Justin Gomlak at 941-263-6754.

Information for your first time visiting the Van Wezel

Arts Advocates

Arts Advocates is a membership organization dedicated to inspiring creativity, advancing education, and connecting the community to the arts. Arts Advocates has the foremost collection of works by Sarasota Art Colony artists on public view. The entire collection contains more than 60 pieces representing a wide range of media and styles dating from the 1930s to the present. Selections of the Arts Advocates collection are on display at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and at the Arts Advocates Gallery inside the Crossings at Siesta Key Mall.


A Few of Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • Smoking is forbidden in any part of the Hall. Smoking areas with ash urns are located outside all doors.

  • Elevators are available in both lobbies for easy access to all levels of the Hall, including the Grand Foyer and Auditorium.

  • Valet parking is available.

  • The parking lot accommodates 850 vehicles and is accessible from 10th Street and Sixth Street (Boulevard of the Arts) from U.S. 41 (North Tamiami Trail). Please note: Regulations for designated parking areas are posted throughout the parking lot. Violators will be ticketed.

  • Items found are turned in to the reception desk located in the Administrative Offices. Hours of pickup are from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. If you need further information please call 941-955-7676.