Circus Arts Conservatory Raises Over $400,000 During Royal Gala - CircusTalk

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Circus Arts Conservatory Raises Over $400,000 During Royal Gala

In early February, 350 supporters of the Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC) gathered at the CAC’s brand-new Big Top on Regatta Island at Nathan Benderson Park for the organization’s Royal Gala. Guests enjoyed thrilling performances by Sailor Circus Academy students and world-class professional circus artists, plentiful photo opportunities, heartfelt grateful remarks by CAC founders Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs and executive vice president/COO Jennifer Mitchell, a lively paddle raise, a delicious catered dinner by Michael’s On East, and dancing in the Center Ring.

The event raised over $400,000 in support of the CAC’s signature youth training, education and outreach programs.

The entertainment portion of the program featured professional performances by Antino Pansa (slack wire), The Sweet Escape (acrobatic hand balancing) and Darren Trull (aerial straps). Sailor Circus Academy students presented acts including aerial rope and rings, roller skating, trampoline, jump rope, contortion and more, culminating in a spectacular multi-act mash-up that brought the crowd to its feet.

At the conclusion of the speaking portion of the program, supporters Donna Koffman and Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed announced the second installment of the CAC’s EDM concert/fundraiser: on April 13, the CAC will present “Wonderball,” which will feature a world-famous electronic dance music artist, to be named soon.

The internationally-renowned CAC is home to Circus Sarasota and the Sailor Circus Academy, the longest-running youth circus and after school training program in the U.S. Each year, CAC presents thrilling world-class performances for tens of thousands of circus lovers under the Big Top, in additional to providing after-school circus arts integrated training and STEAM arts and science education programs to thousands of area students each year.

“Our Gala generates financial support that provides significant and critical funding for the CAC’s arts education and youth training programs,” said Mitchell. “We are very grateful to our sponsors, guests, circus artists, volunteers, and all who made our Royal Gala such a spectacular success!”

Gala chairs were Julie A. Harris and Lauren Walsh. Lead sponsors included Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Publix Super Markets Charities, and Lauren and Bernie Walsh/Justice Pays.

For more about the CAC’s programs and upcoming performances, visit

CAC co-founders Dolly Jacobs and Pedro Reis. Photo by Harry Sayer
Main image:  Sailor Circus Academy's performance. Photo by Harry Sayer

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