Ringling College's Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA Unveils New Phase in Transformation of Iconic 1926 Sarasota High School Building

Ringling College of Art and Design's Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA) division this week unveiled a fresh new look and phase in the development of the future home of the SMOA at the historic 1926 Sarasota High School building located at 1001 South Tamiami Trail.

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Sarasota Musuem of Art 3/4 View ©2010 Rich Schineller

The banners communicate our success in fundraising to date - we have raised $11.7 million of our $22 million goal and we are excited to celebrate the progress we've made to date and accelerate the drive toward completing the funding to finish the project.

Sarasota, FL (Vocus) November 18, 2010

Ringling College of Art and Design's Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA) division this week unveiled a fresh new look and phase in the development of the future home of the SMOA at the historic 1926 Sarasota High School building located at 1001 South Tamiami Trail.

SMOA has created and installed new banners, billboards and sign coverings at the site designed to convey the transformation of the iconic Sarasota building into a vibrant modern and contemporary art museum and home to Ringling College of Art and Design continuing education programs.

SMOA President and Ringling College Trustee Wendy Surkis assembled a creative "dream team" to define a new verbal and visual direction as the transformation project enters its second half. The group included Ringling College Design Center Director Jennifer Mumford; Fine Arts Department Head Kimberly Russo and faculty members Michael Wyshock and Nathan Stiles; Ringling College President Dr. Larry R. Thompson; and CAP Brand Marketing Principals Roxanne Joffe and Sam Stern. The new exterior elements that comprise Exterior Phase One of the project were designed and executed by Mumford.

"We can't thank this team enough for their time, talent, and dedication,” said SMOA President and Ringling College Trustee Wendy Surkis. "Their creativity has given the project a fresh face, and we're excited about sharing it with the community. The banners communicate our success in fundraising to date - we have raised $11.7 million of our $22 million goal ($14 million for renovation and $8 million for endowment) and we are excited to both celebrate the progress we've made to date and accelerate the drive toward completing the funding to finish the project."

Just two years ago, in November 2008, the Sarasota County School Board handed the keys of the building to Ringling College of Art and Design, marking the beginning of the College's official lease of the building.

Since that time, the vision for the new art destination has moved much closer to reality. Ringling College and SMOA leaders have already enriched the community by hosting gatherings at the site to present a virtual tour of the proposed interior, and displaying a well-executed six foot by eight foot scale model of the planned destination. In addition, SMOA launched "ARTmuse," an up-close and personal invitation event for donors. “ARTmuse” provides talks and demonstrations by acclaimed artists who are emblematic of the caliber of individuals SMOA will attract when the museum officially opens to the public.

Dr. Larry R. Thompson commented on the progress: "The arts and culture have always played a vital role to the richness of Sarasota, contributing tremendously to the quality of life and economic and social development of the region. Thanks to the unwavering volunteers leadership of SMOA President Wendy Surkis and those in the community who have stepped up to make this dream a reality, we are one step closer to Opening Day. We are incredibly grateful to the many people and organizations who have shown their philanthropic commitment and expect their giving will lead others to step forward to donate."

The planned museum and education center is located at 1001 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Ringling College and SMOA will take an additional step forward in mid-January 2011, when the group will debut Phase Two of the exterior. The SMOA board expects that the facility will open to the public within 14 to 18 months after reaching their $22 million fundraising goal.

To learn how you can become involved in the SMOA project, contact smoa(at)ringling(dot)edu or call 941-309-SMOA.

ABOUT SMOA
SMOA was initiated by 13 civic-minded Sarasotans, united in their desire to create a museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. In October, 2004, SMOA and Ringling College of Art and Design submitted a joint proposal for adaptive re-use of the historic high school, which received unanimous approval by the Sarasota County School Board as the 'winning' proposal. Ringling College and SMOA immediately began working together, and just one year later the organizations merged, making SMOA a division of the College.

The overall objective of the SMOA project is to bring to Sarasota bold, inspired, and thought-provoking collections and exhibitions that reflect a wide breadth of cultural and aesthetic diversity. Some exhibitions will be on loan from other museums; others will be planned by SMOA's professional staff and guest curators. With several distinct gallery spaces, the Museum will be able to present a variety of exhibitions simultaneously. In this way, visitors will be able to see familiar works by well-known artists, as well as new work by emerging artists, in a single visit.

In addition, the transformation of the historic Sarasota High School will preserve this important icon of Sarasota's architectural and educational heritage. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this landmark building will regain its stature as one of the area's most significant and recognizable structures. The transformation of this building, which includes a glass structure iconic in its modernity, invokes the past, the present and the future.

SMOA Board Members include: Bruce Bachmann, Barbara Basch, Brooke Callanen, Linda Dickinson, Dick Dickinson, Peppi Elona, Koni Findlay, Dottie Baer Garner, Robert W. Garner, Irene Kauffman, Mark Kauffman, Elaine Keating, Liz Kruidenier, Flora Major, John Meyer, Lois Stulberg and Wendy Surkis.

ABOUT THE REBIRTH OF SARASOTA HIGH SCHOOL
The process of transforming historic Sarasota High School into an art destination is well underway. When completed, the second floor will house the Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA), a division of Ringling College of Art and Design. SMOA will feature art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The first and third floors will provide space for continuing education classes offered by Ringling College. This bustling destination will offer several amenities, including an indoor/outdoor café, sculpture garden, 110-seat auditorium and areas for workshops and other unique learning experiences. The extraordinary community asset will interweave exhibitions, educational programs and community outreach initiatives to engage a diverse audience and serve as a center for creative discovery and discourse.

ABOUT RINGLNG COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN
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, Graphic & Interactive Communication, 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 on Florida's Gulf Coast, the picturesque 48-acre campus now includes more than 100 buildings, and enrolls 1,368 students from 46 states and 44 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

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