TOWN HALL Experience


Effective September 26, 2021


Sarasota County arts and cultural organizations which include the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, have united and agreed to uphold vigilant healthy and safety protocols for the protection of our community, patrons, artists, and staff to maintain the economic stability of our institutions. Ringling College Library Association is joining this effort and effective September 26, 2021, we will be uniformly implemented the following policies for all patrons attending TOWN HALL presentations:

  • A negative PCR COVID-19 test administered by a medical provider/official testing center no earlier than 72 hours before the time of their performance. OR:
  • A negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test administered by a medical provider/official testing center no earlier than 24 hours prior to the time of their performance.
  • All attendees must wear masks over their nose and mouth at all times while inside the venue.

Both physical and electronic presentation of documents will be accepted. Photo identification must accompany the presentation of all documents.

If patrons prefer, CDC or other official vaccination record showing the patrons are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (at least 14 days since the final dose) may be voluntarily presented at the door as an acceptable alternative to negative COVID-19 test results.

Protocols will be revisited and may be revised based on CDC guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, including use of additional screening protocols.

Additionally, RCLA has put into place the following safety measures:

All RCLA staff, volunteers, and teams have been fully vaccinated; and all volunteers and staff interacting with patrons will be masked.

Masks:  Patrons are encouraged to bring their own masks, however, there will be disposable masks available, if necessary.

Hand sanitizer stations will be accessible throughout the facility and event spaces.

Theatre seats will be disinfected between all performances.


2020 will mark the 40th Anniversary and installment of the TOWN HALL Lecture Series.  Over the past 40 years 200 speakers have participated in TOWN HALL.  Our presentations have included some of the most engaging, influential, entertaining and educational speakers in the world, which we welcomed to Sarasota to stimulate, inspire and inform EVERY season.

In an area known for its arts and culture, TOWN HALL is among the many assets and known for producing presentations that are innovative, compelling and often “one and only” events that can’t be seen anywhere else.  This rich history means our patrons have incredibly high expectations for each new season, and we do our best to bring in speakers who bring something unique and special to Sarasota.

Many times our speakers are controversial, but we strive to bring speakers whose subject will cause you to think and maybe even get excited about the topic, whether pro or con.  We have also observed that over the past 40 years, and especially most recently, discussing contrary opinions, mostly political, in normal voices feels like a lost art.  TOWN HALL helps us all embrace our experience in hearing what others think, whether we agree or not.  We are honored to be in a community where can we come together at events like this and experience countless new perspectives.   This is TOWN HALL!

TOWN HALL’s Opening Act Student Animation

Past attendees of our TOWN HALL presentations know that to arrive on time to the Van Wezel means one is treated to the amazing and often award-winning computer animation of Ringling College students. If you came late, missed a lecture, or just need a pick-me-up watch below some of the featured videos beloved by our audience. We promise you’ll enjoy them so very much!


Shattered a film by Suyoung Jang, Class of 2019 | Featured before General John F. Kelly’s Presentation


Wanderlust a film by Regina Cicone and Kat Smith, Class of 2019 | Featured before Rick Steve’s Presentation


Game Changer a film by Aviv Mano, Class of 2018 | Featured before Shaquille O’Neal’s Presentation


Don’t Lose Heart a film by Christine Arnold, Class of 2018 | Featured before James Comey’s Presentation


First Comes Love a film by Daniel Ceballos, Class of 2018 | Featured before Jimmy Wales’ Presentation


Mind Games a film by Jiaqi Emily Yan, Class of 2018 | Featured before Caroline Kennedy’s Presentation


Regifted a film by Eaza Shukla, Class of 2018 | Featured before Ian Bremmer’s Presentation


Plush Assassin a film by Anca Mihai, Class of 2017 | Featured before John Brennan’s Presentation


Love on a Balcony a film by Joshua Hyunwooo Jun and Kun Yu Ng, Class of 2017 | Featured before Jon Meacham’s Presentation


In a Heartbeat a film by Esteban Bravo and Beth David, Class of 2017 | Featured before Michael Lewis’ Presentation


The Wishing Cranes a film by Kaiya Telle, Ellen Arnold, and Thomas Anderholm Class of 2017 | Featured before Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Presentation


Extinguished a film by Ashley Anderson and Jacob Mann, Class of 2017 | Featured before Ali Wentworth’s Presentation


Hola Llamigo a film by Charlie Parisi and Christina Chang, Class of 2015 | Featured before Dick Cheney’s Presentation


The Bookworm a film by Richard Wiley, Class of 2016 | Featured before Geena Davis’ Presentation


The Wishgranter a film by Kali Athannassov, John McDonald, and Echo Wu Class of 2016 | Featured before Jared Cohen’s Presentation


Last Shot a film by Aemilia Widodo, Class of 2016 | Featured before James Balog’s Presentation


Rupee Run a film by Taran Lakshminarayanan, Class of 2018 | Featured before Felipe Calderon’s Presentation