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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 
To rebuild arena, circus arts group rallies supporters
 

The Venice Circus Arts Foundation wants to restore the former arena of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. A historical marker off the Tamiami Trail in Venice marks the site. STAFF PHOTOS / DALE WHITE
By Dale White
from---heraldtribune.com
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
VENICE — Two years ago, a grassroots group saved the former arena and training grounds of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus from the wrecking ball — temporarily.
The Venice Circus Arts Foundation persuaded the City Council to give it about five years to raise $10 million to convert the arena that the Ringling organization left in 1992 into a major performing arts venue. The arena property belongs to the municipal airport.
So far, the foundation has collected about $500,000 in in-kind and cash donations toward that goal.
On Tuesday, foundation executive director Orlando Bevington rallied about 30 of the organization's supporters at its headquarters inside the King Solomon's Treasures consignment store.
He urged them to boost participation in the 300-member organization and continue to spread the word about their cause.
"We battle and toil every day to save this place," Bevington said. "We need volunteers."
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation recently contributed $9,000 in matching dollars for an economic impact study that Bevington thinks will enable the restoration group to broaden support. The study could be completed in about three months.
"This will bring jobs," Bevington said. "This will bring prosperity ... This will bring world-class entertainment back to Venice."
The 55,000-square-foot arena can seat from 4,500 to 5,000, more than twice the capacity of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Bevington said.
read more---
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20121017/ARTICLE/121019635


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