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Sarasota, Florida, City and Higher Education Information

Sarasota, Florida, is a small city of about 54,000 on the western coast of Florida. Known for its strong artistic tradition and for being the historic home of the Ringling circus family, Sarasota is the home of the New College of Florida and is within driving distance of the University of Tampa. Read about it here!

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Information about Sarasota, Florida

50 miles south of Tampa and 225 miles northwest of Miami, Sarasota is one of Florida's most beautiful cities. The town of about 54,000 rises on a gentle hillside beside Sarasota Bay on the Gulf Coast and is the home to many writers, artists and performers. The Bohemian tradition is strong in Sarasota, which was largely developed by the circus mogul Charles Ringling, and today the area is still one of the state's leading cultural centers and is the base for several respected performing arts groups.

Sarasota has an extensive array of first-class resorts, restaurants and upscale boutiques. Siesta Key is a residential enclave of Sarasota Beach, popular among artists and writers, and is home to Siesta Village, the area's funky, laid-back and often noisy beach hangout area. Downtown Sarasota is fairly lively with cafes, bars and restaurants and features several excellent bookstores. The city also boasts the Ringling estate, the home of the art-loving circus millionaire credited with inspiring much of Sarasota's style.

Sarasota's Economy

Sarasota's economy is dependent on tourism, education and the arts. Many local residents work in theater, education and recreation, although a significant number are still employed in sectors such as construction and health care. A large number of the jobs in Sarasota are relatively low-paid service and accommodations positions, and many residents work in building maintenance, construction and retail. The city is a regional job center, drawing nearly 30,000 residents each weekday from surrounding communities.

Higher Education

Charles Ringling's legacy endures in the city's Ringling School of Art and Design, a private art school that enrolls nearly a thousand students. The New College of Florida is a public liberal arts institution based in the historic Ringling family estate and is well known for its nontraditional evaluation and instruction techniques. Other schools and universities in the area include Manatee Community College in nearby Bradenton and the University of Tampa, located nearly 50 miles up the coast in Tampa.

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