Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, a Division of Ringling College of Art and Design, Receives $1 Million Challenge to Complete Fundraising Campaign

To receive The Challenge funding, Sarasota, Florida’s first contemporary/modern art museum, must raise an additional $1.45 million by May 31, 2014 to complete its $22 Million campaign.

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Historic Sarasota High School, future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art (Photo by Dick Dickinson)

We are incredibly grateful to Elaine Keating for the first Million Dollar Match and now to the anonymous donor of this second $1 Million Challenge gift. The outpouring of philanthropic leadership is just extraordinary and electrifying.

Sarasota, FL (PRWEB) March 27, 2014

Ringling College of Art and Design president Dr. Larry R. Thompson and Wendy G. Surkis, president of the Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, a division of Ringling College, today announced the receipt of a $1 Million Challenge from an anonymous donor at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

This $1 Million Challenge follows the successful completion of a ‘Million Dollar Match’ program created in January by SMOA Board Member and Ringling College Trustee Elaine Keating. That program – which matched dollar for dollar donor contributions up to one million dollars – added $2.3 million toward the completion of the campaign in six weeks.

The anonymous donor said they were “inspired” by the leadership giving of Mrs. Keating and this was the best way that the donor could help finish the project. The donor offered the $1 Million Challenge on the condition that SMOA secure the balance of $1.45 million by May 31, 2014 – the close of the College’s fiscal year.

“We are incredibly grateful to Elaine Keating for her generosity to SMOA and now to the donor of this second $1 Million Challenge gift. The outpouring of philanthropic leadership for the project is just extraordinary. It has added momentum to our efforts and has been electrifying,” said SMOA President Wendy Surkis.

SMOA began fundraising efforts in 2007 to transform the historic Sarasota High School into a modern/contemporary art museum and visual arts education center. To date, the campaign has raised $19,551,896.66 out of a total $22 million needed to renovate the structure and to establish an operating endowment.

“This Challenge validates the create risk we took in undertaking this monumental project. To see this groundswell of community support is so gratifying and we look forward to opening the doors to the public in as little as 18 months after we secure final funding,” commented Ringling College President Dr. Larry R. Thompson. “I am passionate about the need for arts education and engagement across all age groups and the Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA is a perfect complement to the many and varied arts and cultural resources that currently exist in our community,” said Thompson.

As Sarasota’s first art museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, SMOA interweaves exhibitions, educational programs and community outreach initiatives to engage a diverse audience and serve as a stimulating hub for creative discovery. When fully funded, SMOA and Ringling College will transform the former Sarasota High School building into nearly 60,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 110-seat, multi-purpose auditorium, sculpture court, indoor/outdoor café, classrooms and studios providing education programs for adults and children, and meeting spaces.

This year, SMOA continued its community education and engagement efforts through the ARTmuse program featuring installation artist Lisa Hoke. Using massive quantities of everyday consumer materials, Lisa created one of her color-saturated installations with the assistance of volunteers from our community, akin to the work SMOA is doing to re-purpose the location into a dynamic arts destination for contemporary visual art.

The 2013 ARTmuse ‘Stickworks’ project with artist Patrick Dougherty exemplified the power of art to engage residents and visitors, with hundreds of volunteers helping Patrick weave his work, thousands visiting and walking through his creation and millions seeing ‘Stickworks’ as they pass in their vehicles on US 41.

In addition, the historic Sarasota High School is now hosting “Origins,” a collaborative exhibition first created for the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy by Sweet-Sparkman Architects and students from Ringling College of Art and Design, which showcases the sand of Siesta Key as an object of art.

Free Docent Tours of all three exhibitions will be conducted each Saturday and Sunday from 1:30-3 p.m. through April 19 at the historic Sarasota High School.

“When I see the excitement and wonder of individuals, grade school children, families, grandparents – the full spectrum of our community – who have come to visit our exhibitions at the historic Sarasota High School this year – I am even more motivated to make our dream a reality for all of us and to create a legacy for generations to come,” Surkis explained. “I am proud of what SMOA has been able to share with the community while we have been a ‘museum IN the making,’ she added.

For more information on contributing to the Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, contact:
SMOA: Wendy G. Surkis at 941-309-SMOA (7662) | http://www.SarasotaMuseumOfArt.org.
Ringling College Office for Advancement: 941-309-4733 | smoa(at)ringling(dot)edu

About Sarasota Museum of Art
Sarasota’s first museum of modern and contemporary art will be a dynamic destination for exhibiting innovative and compelling visual art of the 20th and 21st centuries. A vital part of Sarasota’s rich cultural legacy, the museum will interweave exhibitions, educational programs and community outreach initiatives to engage a diverse audience and serve as a stimulating hub for creative discovery and discourse for children and adults.

About Ringling College
Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 13 disciplines: Advertising Design, Computer Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Fine Arts, Game Art & Design, Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Motion Design, Painting, Photography & Digital Imaging, Printmaking, and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Business of Art & Design. Located in Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the picturesque 48-acre campus now includes more than 110 buildings, and enrolls nearly 1,300 students from more than 50 countries. It is recognized as being among the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts. http://www.Ringling.edu