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about the saacc

The Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition, Inc. is a tax-exempt organization in the development stage of opening a facility that brings diverse people together and invites residents and visitors to explore and celebrate African American art, culture, history and entrepreneurship. It will be accessible to all and provide a safe space for discussions about race, identity, class, social justice, history and culture.

latest articles

Sarasota’s first Black cultural center edges closer to reality

SARASOTA – The Leonard Reid family played a critical role in the establishment of Sarasota’s earliest African American community. Now their home is one step closer to playing a critical role
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GUEST EDITORIAL: The history of Black America by James Stewart

GUEST EDITORIAL: The history of Black America by James Stewart As president of the Manasota branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, I am
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SEIDMAN: Historic house to become starter home for city’s first Black culture center

The Leonard Reid home will be moved from the Rosemary District to city land in Newtown to become the beginnings of the Sarasota African American Cultural Center. It’s not every
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Vision of SAACC

The creation of a physical center in or near Newtown is a central component of SAACC’s vision. This center will be the hub from which the organization will develop programs that promote and celebrate the creative and cultural assets of Sarasota’s African American community. We envision collaborative partnerships with local, regional, state and national arts, history and cultural institutions.

Staff and Board

VICKIE OLDHAM M.F.A.
President and CEO

Vickie Oldham M.F.A. is president and CEO of the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition, Inc. SAACC’s goal is to open an art center and history museum. The precursor of this historic preservation initiative is “Newtown Alive.”

WASHINGTON HILL, M.D.
Chairman of the Board

Dr. Hill is Founder of the High Risk Pregnancy Program at SMH and Chair of the Sarasota African American Cultural Center, Inc. (SAACC) Board of Directors.

JETSON GRIMES
Board Member

Newtown native Jetson Grimes is an entrepreneur, activist and community organizer in business for over 40 years. Sarasota is his hometown.

REV. BROCK H. LEACH
Board member

Rev. Brock H. Leach, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister who works for the Unitarian Universalist Association as Executive Consultant for Emerging Ministries helps to develop and lead denominational efforts to support religious innovators.

LAWRENCE A. MILLER, PH.D.
Board Member

Dr. Lawrence Miller is the former city manager for the City of Arcadia, the first African American to hold the position there. He was also the assistant city manager for the City of Sarasota.

THE HONORABLE
CHARLES E. WILLIAMS
Board Member

Charles E. Williams is a circuit judge for the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida. The 12th Judicial Circuit covers Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.

vision and mission

Shared Vision

Newtown is a thriving, culturally and economically vibrant community that cherishes the African American experience and where people come to live, learn, work, invest and play.

Mission

Preserve, celebrate and share the cultural, artistic, and historical heritage of African Americans in Sarasota and beyond.

Guiding Principles

In making decisions, we will strive for actions that will:

  • be consistent with our Vision, Mission and Values
  • leverage our considerable community resources and partnership opportunities
  • contribute to improving the economic vitality and livability of Newtown
  • contribute to the preservation and sharing of African American history and culture in Newtown and beyond
  • create opportunities for enlightenment and learning
  • create entrepreneurial opportunities
  • empower the community to actively participate
  • sustain and perpetuate current achievements and future successes

Goals:

GOAL 1: Establish a historical and cultural center in or near Newtown that will contribute to revitalizing the community.

Objective 1: Establish a temporary site initially.

Objective 2: Establish a permanent site.

GOAL 2: Establish a range of programs that celebrate the longstanding African American presence in Newtown, Overtown and Sarasota, that facilitates learning, and encourages a shared experience.

Objective 1: Develop a programming and exhibits plan for the initial year.

Objective 2: Develop long-range programming and an exhibits plan.

GOAL 3: Increase community awareness about Newtown, Overtown and the efforts to preserve its history and culture.

GOAL 4: Establish lasting and sustainable collaborations and partnerships with arts, historical and cultural organizations that will support continued success of the coalition and its work for the Newtown community.

GOAL 5: Develop a long range, sustainable funding strategy that will include business revenues, fundraising events, grants, earned income and donations.