The Exchange Awards $250,000 to Area Arts Groups and Students

Nineteen regional groups receive support for wide-ranging arts and cultural projects. Twenty-two students receive scholarships for pursuing studies in the arts.

Since 1962, The Exchange has awarded more than $8 million in grants to hundreds of area-based non-profits.


Sarasota, FLThe Exchange (formerly the Woman’s Exchange) announced that it will award $250,000 to 19 regionally based arts and cultural organizations and 22 students. The awards will be given at an invitation-only event at The Exchange on June 7.

“We’re honored to play an integral role in our region’s rich arts and cultural tapestry,” says Karen Koblenz, The Exchange’s executive director and CEO. “These funds can be game-changing for our grantees, who often credit The Exchange for supporting pivotal moments in their success.”

Koblenz points out that the organizational grants are for specific projects and outreach programs, including performances, exhibitions, education initiatives and special series. She explains that The Exchange’s board bases its granting decisions on the long-term stability and financial health of the organizations, the program’s overall appeal to the public and the educational impact these programs will have on area students. Individual scholarships are awarded based on grade point average, the individual’s artistic goals and achievements, and letters of recommendation.

“We’re especially interested in programs that explore diversity, nurture educational opportunities, and promote a vibrant and civically engaged community,” says Koblenz. “The cultural arts industry plays a pivotal role in our region’s economic health and serves as a magnet for tourism. We’re proud to invest in our home-grown creative talents.” She adds that the monies used for these grants and scholarships were earned entirely through the organization’s 15,000-square-foot consignment boutique in downtown Sarasota. Since 1962, The Exchange has awarded more than $8 million in grants to local non-profits and high school and college students pursuing a higher education in the arts.

The grant recipients for the 2018/2019 fiscal year are:

  • Arts and Cultural Alliance: Inspire Sarasota
  • Asolo Theatre, Inc.: 2018-2019 season
  • Florida Studio Theatre: 2018-2019 Winter cabaret series
  • FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training:2018 season of Dog Days Theatre
  • Gloria Musicae: Patriotic Showcase
  • Hermitage Artist Retreat: Hermitage Artists Programs’ live streaming project
  • Key Chorale: Misatango – Celebration of South American Music and Dance
  • La Musica di Aslo: La Musica educational outreach
  • Manatee Concert Band: 2018-2019 season
  • Perlman Music Program/Suncoast: Outreach programs
  • Players Theatre: Season sponsor;
  • Pops Orchestra: 2018-2019concert season
  • Sarasota Ballet: World premier by Ricardo Graziano
  • Sarasota Cuban Ballet School: On Stage program
  • Sarasota Opera: Sarasota Youth Opera’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s The Little Sweep
  • Sarasota Orchestra: Young Person’s Concerts program
  • Selby Gardens: The 2019 Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition
  • Van Wezel Foundation, Inc.: Schooltime Performances program
  • Venice Chorale: Expansion of apprentice and youth programs
  • Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: 2018-2019 main stage season


The scholarship recipients for the 2018/2019 fiscal year are:

High School: Jessica Apatow; Zoe Heil; Beatrice Kelly; Ariana Koopman; Laura Elizabeth McKenna; Rachael Rice; Theo Shultz; Alyssa Volack.

College: Margaux Albiez; Summer Altier; Victoria Byrd; Emily Cain; Marie Dull; Joshua Galindo; Melanie Gasparoni; Abigail Hodgson; Jessica Pope; Rachael Querreveld; Autumn Rose; Haley Rosenthal; Olivia Valek; Teia Watson.

Established in 1962, The Exchange is a self-sustaining organization of vital importance to the community. A consignment store like no other, it has become a favorite haunt for Sarasota residents and a must-visit destination for visitors from around the world. With funds received from its consignment operation, which consists of more than 260 volunteers and 5,000 consignors, The Exchange annually awards grants and scholarships to support the arts in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The 15,000-square-foot boutique offers an ever-changing inventory of affordably priced treasures, including high-end furniture, clothing, jewelry and accessories. The Exchange is located at 539 S. Orange Ave. in Sarasota. For more information, call 941-955-7859 or visit


About The Exchange

The Exchange is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization with a central purpose of supporting and enriching a variety of programs for local cultural organizations. Funds for this purpose are realized through a consignment operation in which merchandise is accepted either for donation or for consignment to be sold in its store. Grants and scholarships derived from the earnings of this store are used to enrich and strengthen arts-related programs and to encourage creativity in organizations and individuals throughout the community. Visit