Foundation Awards $20,000 for SCF Studio for the Performing Arts

The Ralph S. French Charitable Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to the State College of Florida Foundation for an acoustically correct music practice studio in the new Studio for the Performing Arts at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF).

The practice studios, which allow for one-on-one tutoring as well as individual practice time, are essential for students to meet their coursework requirements. Plans for the new building include a total of 10 practice studios. The 13,400-square-foot building at SCF Bradenton will support the growth of music, art and theatre programs in Sarasota and Manatee counties. It also will provide an outreach to all populations, including those with limited access to such amenities, meeting a critical need for SCF and the community.

The French Foundation was established to support organizations that educate and empower individuals to help themselves and others in need. Ralph S. French was a doctor who owned a home on Anna Maria Island. He believed not only in helping people, but also empowering them to help themselves.

The building where music students currently practice is more than 50 years old and will be demolished once the new Studio for the Performing Arts is complete. The older facility was originally designed for classrooms only, offers minimal functionality and has poor acoustics. In 2010 the Department of Education performed a facilities study, and based on the results, determined it was not suitable for college music program needs. The college received state approval for replacement, but without funding.

The $3.5 million Studio for the Performing Arts is designed to be an educationally sound and inviting space for both students and the community. SCF offers the only open-door access higher education music program in the region. It serves approximately 500 general education students annually taking music classes, including 80 music majors.

To donate to the Studio for the Performing Arts or other programs, or for more information, contact Barbara Bourgoin, development director, at or (941) 752-5398