There's a place where freedom is front and center.

Honoring Our Heritage

Our nation's national cemeteries are the final resting places for men and women who served our country with unmatched valor and dedication. Since the 1860s, these shrines to America’s heroes have offered places of peace and reflection for military families and visitors.

Today, we offer the same through Patriot Plaza, a 2,800-seat ceremonial amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery that honors veterans, inspires patriotism and embraces freedom.

The Patterson Foundation fully funded the design and construction of Patriot Plaza and donated it to our community and the National Cemetery Administration during a community dedication fully underwritten by the foundation.

Patriot Plaza will be a space for our community to take pride in hosting veterans-related ceremonies and events for generations to come.

Patriot Plaza - Information & Tours

A dedicated group of volunteers are contributing their time and talent by leading tours at Patriot Plaza. Through hours of classes and training, they have acquired an extensive knowledge of Patriot Plaza's meaning, its commissioned artwork and the artists behind it. These guides are available to share Patriot Plaza's mission with visitors in tours that are both educational and engaging.

Weekly tours of Patriot Plaza take place on Tuesdays at 10 am except for federal holidays. Participants should meet at the east entrance of Patriot Plaza near the bronze sculpture "Home," which depicts nesting eagles.

To schedule a group or school tour, please contact Cindy Balistreri at the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County: cbalistreri@sarasotaarts.org or 941-365-5118 x301.

Patriot Plaza is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free.

Click on a number below to explore the features of Patriot Plaza.

  • The History

    Partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – National Cemetery Administration since 2010, we learned we share an intertwined past. Use the button to the right to advance the timeline and discover the connection between the wealth and history of military service at The Patterson Foundation and the early stages of the National Cemetery Administration.

    Swipe to view the timeline.

An Unprecedented Veterans Administration Partnership

According to the VA, about 17 percent of veterans take advantage of burial benefits -- whether they pass away in service or decades later.

Several years into the partnership with the National Cemetery Administration, we continue to honor President Lincoln’s decree to care for those who have borne the battle…

This is the first time a private foundation is partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to work on an enhancement of this complexity at a national cemetery.

We intend to share this partnership model with communities near the 132 national cemeteries that may be interested in exploring how their communities can work together and partner.

Our Team

Patriot Plaza may be bricks and mortar, but ingrained in every inch of the space is the expertise, thoughtfulness and heart-felt spirit of each person we are proud to call a part of the Patriot Plaza team.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, along with The Patterson Foundation, its volunteer construction and art advisory groups, and paid architecture, design, art and legal professionals poured over countless hours of concepts and details, concepts and the like to ensure Patriot Plaza’s excellence.

The Patterson Foundation Construction Team

Volunteer Advisors

  • Construction Advisory Group of industry experts
    • Billy Springer
    • Cliff Truitt
    • John Peshkin
    • Shawn McIntyre
  • Art Advisory Group of industry experts

Blog

Patriot Plaza guides share their favorite visitor stories

By: Sandra Beckley


Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.31.43 PMThe Patterson Foundation’s objective for Patriot Plaza from design through construction was to Honor Veterans, Inspire Patriotism and Embrace Freedom. This objective included veterans who are serving, have served and even extended to those who might serve in our nation’s armed forces. To honor veterans and their families through commissioned art incorporating photojournalism, the hope... Read more »

Celebrating a year of service

By: Cindy Balistreri


Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 3.22.13 PMAt Sarasota National Cemetery, all Patriot Plaza Guides are volunteers, but not all volunteers are Guides. On June 1, The Patterson Foundation hosted a Guide Appreciation Breakfast as a meaningful tribute to the work and dedication of these special volunteers. Patriot Plaza is a stunning amphitheater located at the Sarasota National Cemetery that can seat... Read more »

Partnering to develop the Patriot Plaza guide program

By: Sandra Beckley


Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.24.15 PMOn June 1, The Patterson Foundation celebrated and recognized the Patriot Plaza guides on the first anniversary of the program. The guides — or docents — include 14 volunteers who share their time and talent to bring the stories of the art at Patriot Plaza to life and ensure the experience for visitors is truly memorable.... Read more »

Patriot Plaza News

#PatriotPlaza on Twitter

Events

Veterans Legacy Summit - Nov. 14-15, 2014

While The Patterson Foundation presented Patriot Plaza to our local community in June 2014, it shared this unique public-private partnership with leaders from across the country Nov. 14-15 during the Veterans Legacy Summit.

Leaders from the government, military, philanthropy, national veterans-serving organizations and others supporting veterans came together to share ideas, learn about unique partnerships, such as Patriot Plaza, challenge assumptions and push the boundaries of potential to honor our nation’s heroes.

Many of the weekend’s events were open to the public, including a community concert at Patriot Plaza featuring the West Point Band. Celebrate Service & Sacrifice, a highlight of the Veterans Legacy Summit, was a heartfelt salute to America's veterans featuring an inspiring keynote address by Army combat veteran and New York Times bestselling author Wes Moore. Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, participated and a delegation of Forever Miss Americas served as the masters of ceremony. In addition to lending their talents to the ceremony, each Forever Miss America also spoke to local nonprofit organizations in the Sarasota region.

Patriot Plaza Community Dedication

If you were unable to attend the Community Dedication event, you may watch the rebroadcast in our Media Gallery.

Legacy of Valor

Through 100 Legacy of Valor partnerships lasting 13 months, our caring community rallied around the more than 100,000 veterans and their families who live and work in Southwest Florida.

This enthusiasm will live on at Patriot Plaza as our community uses the space to honor veterans and their stories for generations to come.

To learn more about Legacy of Valor, visit freedompassiton.org

Art Installations

The art installations at Patriot Plaza are some of the space's most inspiring and touching features. With a goal to preserve memory through art, the installations honor men and women who serve, and their families, while communicating their stories to future generations.

As a private charitable entity, The Patterson Foundation enlisted the expertise of Ann Wykell, an art consultant, and a volunteer art advisory group of local and regional experts to carry out a call for artists that met national standards and attracted both local and national responses. The process also included private invitations to artists with acclaimed work in specified areas.

For complete information, browse the detailed art information below.

Thumbnail of Service, Support, Sacrifice

Testimonies

Larry Kirkland

Thumbnail of Witness to Mission

Witness to Mission

Kenny Irby, Larry Kirkland

Home

Ann Hirsch

Guardian Eagles

Pablo Eduardo

Night to Day Mosaic

Night to Day, Here and Away

Ellen Driscoll

Globe Inset

Star Map