Bubil: MOD's next act, and its ticket prices


Organizers of the second Sarasota MOD Weekend, the annual architectural festival that just completed its second program, are not yet thinking about Year 3.

“We’re still focusing on getting the Walker Guest House Replica running smoothly, recruiting docents, organizing collateral materials,” said Dan Snyder, a member of Sarasota Architectural Foundation’s board of directors.

Snyder noted that on Monday, the day after MOD ended, “we had over 500 visitors at the WGHR, and more than 1,500 guests have been through the WGHR since the opening” on Nov. 6.

Monday is a “free day” at The Ringling museums, although Snyder notes that the grounds are free and open to the public every day, as is the replica throughout its 11 months at The Ringling.

About those tickets

One reader complained to me about the cost of tickets to various MOD events. They started at $25 and were as high as $150 for the elegant dinner parties at modernist homes. Most of the lectures were $40. A 12-event VIP package was $500, including a $65 donation to SAF.

“A very effective way to keep the unwashed, hoi polloi, riff-raff out of these snobbish elitist events,” this person wrote.

I have nothing to do with pricing, either for architectural event tickets or the listing of your typical Casey Key mansion. (One time, a decade ago, an appraiser did call me for an explanation of what makes the Umbrella House such a valuable piece of architecture.) But I can say that MOD relies heavily on the support of sponsors — they cover about half the costs of the event — to keep ticket prices at a more moderate level (depending on how you define moderate). And, much of the labor that goes into MOD is done on a volunteer basis, also lowering costs.

Say what you will about ticket prices, but that fact is that most MOD events, especially the walking and trolley tours and dinner and cocktail parties, were sold out. Five auditorium lectures sold at 60 to 80 percent of capacity. That is also the case with many other cultural events around town that attract all kinds of people and not just the “elite.”

Did I mention that you can tour the Walker Guest House Replica at The Ringling for free?


Sometimes, mistakes turn out to be opportunities, and this is one such case.

In my Nov. 6 story about Sarasota MOD Weekend and architect Paul Rudolph, I reported that $25 million had been spent to renovate the addition to Sarasota High School that was designed by Rudolph and opened in 1959.

In fact, the figure was about $10 million. While I regret the reporting error, I am happy that it gives me the opportunity to point out something that was overlooked in my coverage of the building’s opening 11 months ago: Restoring the exterior of that large building, and building a completely new interior, for just $10 million seems to me to be an impressive display of design and construction.

Harvard Jolly Architects worked with Tandem Construction, the school district’s team and a host of engineers and other subcontractors on the project. Architect Jonathan Parks served as a consultant.

And a clarification

The Center for Architecture Sarasota informs me, following a recent column, that it raised about $1 million for its renovation of the Scott Building, now the McCulloch Pavilion. That includes about $300,000 worth of in-kind donations and services that were donated to CFAS.

“Your number ($500,000) was correct with our first estimates,” said CFAS President Cynthia Peterson, “but we actually ended up raising $1 million in funds and in-kind services — pretty amazing in only 18 months” of the CFAS’ existence.

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: November 16, 2015
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