By: Al Balaban
While she awaits the total renovation of her new apartment on the sixteenth floor, Ina Schnell will be living for a few months on the third floor of the tower as she begins her new life. She is certainly not new to Sarasota, where she has been widely known for almost 25 years, nor to Plymouth Harbor, where she has participated in many activities as a Harbor Club member.
What might perhaps be new will be her desire to limit the intense activity and commitment to the many artistic, socially worthy, and creative groups to which she devoted most of her waking hours. She feels ready to “live the contemplative life,” having time for reading, studying, discussing ideas and events, making new friends, and having fun.
Given Ina’s history, slowing down seems a heroic task. Growing up in New England, her early education as a day-student at a creative, progressive boarding school planted the seeds that flourished into her love of the arts and the joys of the outdoors. She attended Skidmore College, earning a degree in history; many years later, she received a master’s degree in urban affairs and policy analysis from the New School for Social Research in New York City.
In the years between the two academic pursuits, Ina “earned a living.” Right out of college, she was hired by Bonwit Teller at a starting level. By 23, she had remarkably become a buyer. Twelve years later, she left the store to pursue other interests. Married twice, she has one son.
Ina’s engagement in social and cultural organizations began while living in New York and The Berkshires, but flourished here in Sarasota. Space does not permit a full listing of her awards and honors from arts and philanthropic organizations; such a list might give you a misleading image of a workaholic, a remote, driven woman — she is not that. She is proud of the work she has done (particularly on the board of the Ringling Museum of Art, and as a founding member of the Foundation for Sarasota County Public Libraries) and the many honors received.
Currently, Ina wants very much to become part of the social fabric of Plymouth Harbor — making friends, learning, and participating and contributing to the unique quality of life we all share here.