Sagi Asokan

09/01/2022 02:11 AM By Lisa Anderson
Sagi Asokan
Beth Cannon
Story Sponsored by Locala in Conjunction with Couch Sessions

Sagi Asokan

Passion for the Arts Woven Throughout Her Life

When Fine Arts for Ocala (FAFO) launched in 1966, Sagi Asokan was a young woman living on the other side of the world in her hometown of Tamilnadu, India.

FAFO was formed with the goal of promoting fine art and art education in Marion County. In the beginning, the organization’s primary fundraiser was a black-tie auction party, the only event of its kind in Ocala. The Ocala Arts Festival soon became an annual event, and Symphony Under the Stars was added to the lineup in 1988.

Sagi and her husband, Dr. R. Asokan, moved to the U.S. in 1974; the couple moved to Ocala in 1980. With her passion for the arts, it didn’t take long for Sagi to discover FAFO: She attended her first Ocala Arts Festival in 1981.

After Dr. Asokan, a plastic surgeon, established his Aesthetic Center in Ocala, Sagi worked as his practice manager for 40 years, until he retired in 2018.

For many years, Sagi enjoyed international travel and returned to India annually with their daughter to share that culture with her.

Sagi’s continued love of the arts led to her nomination and approval as a FAFO board member, where she served for nearly 25 years, during which she’s seen many changes. For example, in the “old days,” artists submitted their work on slides for review to be accepted in the show, a time-consuming process for both artists and board members. Today, of course, the submission process is all digital.

Many people don’t realize Symphony Under the Stars wasn’t always on Mother’s Day. “It got moved to that weekend, one year, because of rain and has stayed there ever since,” says Sagi, who greatly appreciates the long-standing tradition of FAFO’s annual events, and the opportunity to be part of them.

“We have some artists who’ve been coming to the festival ever since it started,” she adds. “About 15 years ago, we didn’t have people working for FAFO, so everything was done by the board members. We did the whole thing and were there for the whole show wherever needed. Now we have an administrative assistant; we’re lucky to have found Maggie Weakley.”

An avid supporter of the arts, Sagi remains an Emeritus Board Member of FAFO and continues to participate on the investment committee.

This May, Sagi had to skip one beloved FAFO event due to knee replacement surgery. She’s going through the recovery process now. “This year was the first Symphony Under the Stars I’ve missed since FAFO started doing it,” says Sagi. “I hope to be back on schedule for the next one and also, to help out at the art show this fall.”
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