Venice Institute for Performing Arts
The Venice Institute for Performing Arts (VIPA) sustains the local arts community through innovative educational programs and inspires the local community with first-class entertainment.
Management Company of the Venice Performing Arts Center
On January 1st, 2017, the Sarasota County School Board named the Venice Institute for Performing Arts as the management company for the Venice Performing Arts Center (VPAC). As the management company, we coordinate with the three resident performing arts groups – the Venice Symphony, the Venice Concert Band, and the Venice Chorale, schedule performances in the space, hire a crew for all non-school shows, coordinate with Venice High School and their performing arts department and administration, as well as operate the box office at the VPAC. We are thrilled to be able to work with these fantastic organizations!
During our 2016-2017 season we launched our Apprenticeship Program – a unique experience for Venice High School juniors and seniors who are paid for their time. They are given the opportunity to work hands-on with industry professionals in all areas of the performing arts from lighting and sound, to house management, and patron relations. Students learn valuable life skills about responsibility, time management, collaboration and team work, that are not only applicable in the performing arts, but in any field the students choose to follow upon graduation.
Through his apprenticeship with VIPA, one 2017 Venice High School graduate obtained an electrics apprenticeship for “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota and joined the local stage hands union this fall. A second apprentice found a passion for stage management and is now enrolled at the University of Central Florida, where he is working on his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Stage Management. In an open letter to VIPA he writes, “By continuing with theatre, more specifically Stage Management, I aim to inspire young minds like my own that didn’t know where to turn in a time of need, and to continue to inspire myself by bringing productions with great learning to life. Thank you so very much for restoring my passion, helping make college decisions, and much more.”
All 6 students who graduated from VIPA’s apprenticeship program last spring went on to degrees or careers in the performing arts and we are thrilled to have been able to more than double the size of the apprenticeship program this season, with 13 students actively participating this semester.
Our internship program, designed for high school seniors, allows students to get behind the scenes while earning class credit. The Institute enables students to graduate with enriching arts-industry experience by providing them in the administrative side to running a performing arts organization. Internships are designed around individual student’s interests and are unique to each student who participates. Examples of internship areas that students can choose from include: volunteer coordination, box office management, social media marketing, graphic design, marketing, and development.
Master Classes and Workshops
When choosing acts to perform at the Venice Performing Arts Center, not only do we look for entertaining and skilled performers, but for performers willing to dedicate time to students interested in learning as much as they can about the performing arts. In September, Sarasota County High School students were given the opportunity to participate in a master class with The Broadway Boys. Students prepared a monologue or a song to sing for these Broadway professionals and all students were given feedback as well as tips and tricks on auditioning for both college and professional auditions. Three students, two from Venice High School and one from Booker High School, were chosen to perform during intermission of the Broadway Boys concert that same evening. Additional master classes this season are scheduled with jazz legends Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski.
Outreach at Local Elementary Schools
This fall, we premiered our first elementary school outreach program – Tech Talks. Aimed at showing students all that the performing arts has to offer behind the scenes, this free, 5-to-10 session program walks students through what it means to work backstage, and all of the opportunities available – no matter their interests. We show students who have a passion for video games how they can turn that skill into programming theatrical lighting boards. We demonstrate how students with a passion for painting can work on sets or costumes. We also point out how many other talents and interests can be used in the theatrical realm.
The program can end with a portfolio exhibition, where they present their work to their parents, a tour of the backstage areas at the VPAC, or both. Our pilot program at the Island Village Montessori School has already shown great success in its first three sessions, with 36 students attending from kindergarten through 8th grade. This program will be expanding to Venice Elementary School this spring.
Summer VIP Arts Academy
The Summer VIP Arts Academy provides weekend classes and workshops for toddlers through adults. Offerings vary by season but often include private lessons, vocal ensembles, dance classes, acting classes, parent and me classes, and technical theater. The Summer 2018 VIP Arts Academy includes private Piano and Harp lessons for students of all ages as well as a backstage workshop and onstage workshop in July. All private lessons and students participating in the onstage workshop will participate in a recital on July 21st.
During 2017, we presented 35 productions and co-productions. The Institute’s offerings include shows that appeal to the tastes of all segments of our community’s demographics: family entertainment, lifelong learning, country music, swing and jazz, folk/rock music, dance, and comedy. With the help of hard-working staff, volunteers, and a dedicated board of community volunteers, we are off and running with an exciting 2018 ahead!
Our volunteer core comprises of over 200 individuals. This extraordinary group of people assist in everything from box office, to ushering, security and more. During the 115 performances, hours spent in the box office working with patrons, and volunteering on weekends at art fairs and music festivals, our volunteer core donated a combined 15,000 hours of their valuable time in 2017.
For more information about volunteering, please visit our Volunteer page.