There are many reasons why Sarasota County is loved by residents and visitors alike. Every one enjoys the diverse dining, arts and culture, shopping districts and of course the beautiful white-sands beaches. Sarasota County is located in the southwestern part of the Florida peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, between Manatee and Charlotte counties. The economy is largely service-oriented, driven by tourism and the migration of retirees, with the major industries including:
The 2018 county population is estimated to be around 417,000 permanent residents. During the winter "season" months, the local population can grow to over 500,000
Sarasota is the sixth-highest-income Florida location by per capita income ($33,045) and is well known for its cultural and environmental amenities, beaches, resorts and of course the Sarasota School of Architecture. Sarasota has been a consistent cultural mecca for almost a century. Sarasota has many musical, dance, theatre, circus and other performing arts venues including the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota Players, Banyan Theater Company, Westcoast Black Theatre, Urbanite Theatre, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sarasota Orchestra, La Musica, Jazz Club of Sarasota, Sarasota Youth Opera, Circus Arts Conservatory and many others.
Sarasota boasts a selection of theatrical venues that have diverse offerings, from Broadway and off-breadway to classic plays to contemporary and new plays. Performances can be found at the Florida Studio Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, The Plyers Theatre, Urbanite Theatre and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida (WBTT) was founded in December 1999, by local actor, singer, directory and playwright Nate Jacobs. It is the only professional black theater company on Florida's west coast and one of two in the state. Through the years WBTT has produced many productions locally, throughout Florida, nationally, and as far away as Switzerland and Germany.
Sarasota and the Cultural Coast are home to fine art, film-making and decorative arts. Fine art, fine art galleries, artist collectives, film-making and many decorative arts are practiced in Sarasota and Cultural Coast.