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Sarasota's Booker High School Ready For Its Close-Up

Booker High School serves the most diverse and underprivileged student body in the Sarasota County School District. It's also recognized for its rigorous program in arts education, including instruction in music, theatre, dance, digital film and motion design, and visual art.

This week, the Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts program will host its first ever fundraiser to support initiatives that provide educational enhancements for VPA’s rising stars.

The event, named Kaleidoscope of Creativity, will feature student performances in music and dance, along with an art auction.

"We really are the training ground for the arts in Sarasota. This is where it all begins."

Booker's audition-based arts program was formed in the 1970s to encourage integration in Sarasota’s public high schools. Rebecca Abrahamson, the school's VPA coordinator, says many students have families whose income places them at a disadvantage in pursuing arts at the college level.

"There's such a distinction between students who can afford private lessons and those who can't," she said.

Credit Cathy Carter
Nicole Colton is a junior at Booker High School in Sarasota.

Proceeds from the event will be earmarked for providing private lessons, master classes on campus, as well as fees for pursuing placement in the country’s top collegiate arts programs.

Additionally, organizers hope the event will showcase Booker High School’s VPA program to Sarasota’s philanthropic community.

"A lot of people may not even know the caliber of performances that we have here,” said Abrahamson. “You know, when you ask somebody if they want to go see a high school musical somewhere I think that the answer is generally, no,” she added with a laugh.

“We have such a community of arts supporters in Sarasota with the orchestra and the opera, but I don’t think that people necessarily see Booker High School in that same light and our hope is to turn that around." 

”Kaleidoscope of Creativity takes place Saturday, March 9 at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe rooftop deck in Sarasota. Tickets are $100 and available at www.bookervpa.com/tickets or by calling the VPA box office at 941-335-2967.

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