By Ashley Cox

SARASOTA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)–CreArte Latino was recently awarded a $29,847 grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. According to Carol Fox Hartz, executive director of CreArte Latino, the funds will be used towards technical equipment and other performance needs.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Selby Foundation, we will have more lights, a better sound system, microphones, and a real, classic stage curtain,” says Hartz. She adds that funds are also earmarked for ceiling insulation, acoustic panels, digital mixer, and projector.

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Based on its success in producing an average of nine plays a year by 2018, CreArte moved to a 4,500-square-foot space at 8251 15th St. East in Sarasota in 2019. During the pandemic, with the help of donors, grants and almost exclusively volunteer labor, the organization constructed the new 100-seat Georgia Court Theater, as well as a classroom and smaller stage. The Selby Foundation grant will fund essential finishing touches for the main stage.

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“This grant will make it possible to offer our audiences the best possible theater experience on every level and we are deeply grateful,” says Hartz.

CreArte re-launched its theater season in early October 2021, following Safe Arts Sarasota Covid protocols. “Revista Musical” for Hispanic Heritage Month was followed by “Taxímetro Adulterado” by Pipe Vallejo. “Perdedores” by Marta Buchaca was produced in November. All three shows played to sold-out houses. A bilingual program is in the planning process and four more plays in Spanish are scheduled for 2022.

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CreArte Latino was founded in 2012 as a theater-based creative hub for the Spanish-speaking Latino/Hispanic community in Sarasota and Manatee counties. “It is our mission to be a connector between the Latino/Hispanic community and the community at large through the arts,” says Hartz.