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The Ringling: Connecting With Young Families

Published September 7, 2016

RinglingAs part of its goal to meaningfully engage visitors ages five and under, last year The Ringling inaugurated a partnership with the Forty Carrots Parenting Program in Sarasota to provide art activities to young children at local libraries. Forty Carrots is an organization founded in 1993 to provide area families with supportive tools to positively impact childhood learning and long-term development. Forty Carrots’ Partners In Play Program, which offers free early childhood classes that promote play, literacy, creativity, and emotional and cognitive development, takes place at every library in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Angelica Bradley, The Ringling’s Youth and Family Program Manager, facilitates child-led art activities at these classes twice a week. Her primary goal is material and sensory exploration, which she encourages through open-ended projects that have no pre-established end product. Instead, these process-based activities motivate children to experiment and discover, which Bradley incorporates in all her programs, both on and off The Ringling’s campus.

The idea is for the children and parents to use their senses together to explore art-making as a form of play and self expression

 Angelica Bradley

Bradley also uses everyday materials to make these projects easy to implement at home. Over the last year, nearly 900 people attended Partners In Play classes with art activities facilitated by Bradley and approximately 530 attended corresponding onsite classes at The Ringling. This year, thanks to the support of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Ringling plans to expand the number of classes in which Bradley participates. “Our partnership with Forty Carrots and their Partners In Play program is a perfect fit for The Ringling’s objective to reach young families and nurture early childhood development through the arts,” said Maureen Zaremba, Curator of Education at The Ringling.

If you are interested in supporting The Ringling’s ongoing education initiatives, please contact: Anna von Gehr, Senior Director for Development 941-359-5700 x 5804 or