Sarasota, Fla — The William G. & Marie Selby Foundation has approved a $72,457 grant proposal submitted by the Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota, a chapter for Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). The grant will provide hearing loop systems for 10 performing arts halls in two Florida counties.

The 10 theaters include a total of 13 stages that will receive the grant:

  • Asolo Theatre
  • Florida Studio Theatre (Keating stage)
  • Florida Studio Theatre (Gompretz stage)
  • Manatee Player’s Theatre
  • Neel Performing Arts Center (Main stage)
  • Neel Performing Arts Center (Pinkerton stage)
  • Sarasota Opera
  • Sarasota Orchestra
  • The Player’s Theatre
  • Venice Community Center
  • Venice Theatre (Main stage)
  • Venice Theatre (Pinkerton stage)
  • Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota

Each stage will receive a hearing loop system that transmits the sounds of the performance through an amplifier and induction loop to any hearing aid or cochlear device with a T-coil. The theaters will also receive a box office loop system and five loop receivers for hearing loss individuals without T-coils.

Dr Sarah H. Pappas, president of the Selby Foundation, said in the press announcement, “We were extremely pleased to fund this endeavor as it empowers people with hearing disabilities to enjoy theater again, while helping to sustain our healthy, vibrant arts community.”

Edward F. Ogiba, president of the HLA of Sarasota, which has been advocating the induction looping system through its Let’s Loop SRQ! campaign, added that the implementation is happening faster than in Europe, where the concept of looping auditoriums and churches began.

“No city had all its major local theaters looped so quickly,” said Ogiba, “and we are confident that this generous gift by the Selby Foundation will provide the same tipping point to make Sarasota, Venice, and Bradenton each become one of the first hearing-friendly cities in America.”

SOURCE: Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota