The Ringling receives major gift to create new studio art glass pavilion

“Mega World 5.4” by Josh Simpson, gift of Philip and Nancy Kotler.

Two major gifts to The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art will be used toward the construction of The Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, a 5,500 square foot expansion, which will create a dedicated space for the display of studio art glass and a new formal entrance to the Historic Asolo Theater.

Longtime museum and Florida State University patrons Philip and Nancy Kotler and Warren and Margot Coville have joined together to provide leading support to build their named Glass Pavilion, which will be added to the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion and open in the fall of 2017. The Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion will provide a permanent presence for studio art glass at The Ringling in a prominent location that nearly all museum guests will pass through during their visit. The donors provided the majority of the support for the project, which is expected to cost about $5 million.

“The Ringling’s commitment to visual and performance art continues with the incredible gift of the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion,” Steven High, executive director of The Ringling said. “We are honored to share our growing studio art glass collection with the public while creating an improved experience for our performance audience. This new facility further demonstrates Sarasota’s growing prominence in the contemporary glass world.”

The gift was inspired by the donors’ mutual appreciation for the studio art glass movement, and The Ringling’s support and scholarship of the art form. The majority of the glass that will be displayed in the new pavilion will come from the promised gift of The Philip and Nancy Kotler Glass Collection and the promised gift of The Warren J. and Margot E. Coville Glass Collection. A portion of the Kotler Glass Collection was previously displayed at the Museum of Art from Nov. 18, 2013–June 29, 2014 in an exhibition organized by Matthew McLendon, curator of modern and contemporary art at The Ringling.

“With the generous donations by both the Kotlers and the Covilles of outstanding works of studio glass, The Ringling can now engage new audiences through the display of key works by both American and European masters,” McLendon said. “These gifts have truly been transformative for our collection making studio glass a collecting focus for the museum. Through their latest acts of philanthropy, the Kotlers and Covilles will enable our guests to always have the opportunity to view these collections when they visit the museum.”

The Kotlers and Covilles also enthusiastically support performance art, and this project will upgrade the facilities of the Historic Asolo Theater with enhanced guest artist facilities including a rehearsal room for performers as well as a concession area in the new lobby and reception space on the second floor for theater guests. The improved and new spaces will enable The Ringling to expand upon its performance offerings.

“These highly respected families – the Kotlers and the Covilles –have worked for decades supporting artists and the organizations that collect and present art to the public,” High said. “We are grateful that they entrusted their collections, their financial support, and their names to us. It is a major vote of confidence and one that will surely inspire others who share a passion for studio art glass and performance art to view The Ringling as a center of excellence.”

Philip Kotler is the S.C. Johnson Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the author of more than 50 books focusing on marketing including the leading text “Museum Marketing and Strategy: Designing Missions, Building Audiences, Generating Revenue and Resources.” Nancy Kotler is a retired attorney and college instructor, who has worked with her husband to build an extensive collection of studio glass since first encountering the art form at a show in their hometown of Chicago.

Warren Coville is a retired photographer, portrait studio owner and photo-finishing supplier from the Detroit area. He served as an aerial photographer during World War II. Margot Coville is a Holocaust survivor, who has worked with her husband to create four separate philanthropic foundations. The Covilles previously donated a collection of photography to the Museum in 2012.

The Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion project has been enabled with cooperation from Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Gulf Coast Community Foundation is a long-standing supporter of The Ringling and lead sponsor to the museum’s Art of Our Time programming dedicated to contemporary art.

“It is remarkable that two philanthropic families, working with two community focused non-profits like The Ringling and Gulf Coast Community Foundation, can join together to create something so exciting all with hopes of expanding arts opportunities for Sarasota and the state of Florida,” High said.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University, is one of the largest museum/university complexes in the nation. It preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling, educating and enabling a large and diverse audience to experience and take delight in a world-renowned collection of fine art; Ca’ d’Zan, the Ringling’s mansion; the Circus Museum; the Historic Asolo Theater; and historic architecture, courtyard, gardens and grounds overlooking Sarasota Bay.