The Ringling announces $100M campaign to secure future vitality of landmark arts campus

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has made great strides toward achieving its goals of inclusion, inspiration and excellence. (The Ringling Museum)
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has made great strides toward achieving its goals of inclusion, inspiration and excellence. (The Ringling Museum)

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the State Art Museum of Florida administered by Florida State University (FSU), announces a $100 million comprehensive campaign to preserve and expand its legacy for the 21st century and beyond. The Ringling Inspires: Honoring the Legacy and Building for the Future campaign has raised $92 million to date. It is an integral component of Florida State University’s Raise the Torch campaign.

The Ringling and Florida State leadership also announce a leadership gift of $5 million from the Monda family of Sarasota, Florida, to endow the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art as well as an inspiring gift of artwork to the modern and contemporary permanent collection, a major collecting strategy for The Ringling and its campaign. The works – Teo González’s mixed media Untitled #406 (2006), Yayoi Kusama’s monumental painting Infinity Dots (1993), Beverly Pepper’s steel sculpture Curve in Curve (2012) and a large work on paper by Richard Serra (1990) – will be formative additions to the growing collection of modern and contemporary art and will be prominent features in future Art of Our Time exhibitions and educational programs at the museum.

“The Ringling Inspires campaign is vital to our long-term commitment to engage and welcome diverse audiences to the museum, and increase access to the treasures found in our collections, while preserving the incredible heritage of The Ringling’s campus. As we celebrate our landmark architecture, both historic and new, and continue to invest in innovative programs to expand our service to more than 415,000 annual visitors, we broaden our international impact and strengthen our role as a cultural leader,” said Steven High, The Ringling’s executive director. “We thank all who have generously supported us throughout this major campaign, including Keith and Linda Monda, who through their impactful gifts have signaled their lasting investment in the Art of Our Time at The Ringling.”

The Ringling sits on 66-acres of bayfront property and includes the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, Tibbals Learning Center, Ca’ d’Zan mansion, 18th-century Historic Asolo Theater, conservation laboratory, research library and heirloom gardens. It is among the largest academic art museums in the country and a top ranking museum in North America with internationally renowned collections and respected programs.

“The Ringling Inspires is a key component of Florida State University’s campaign to achieve world-class excellence through teaching and learning, mentorship and training,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “Florida State University has a tradition of excellence in the arts. It is that great tradition and belief in the value of the arts – with top ranked programs in music, theater, dance and fine arts – that served as a catalyst for the state of Florida to partner this great museum with our great University. We are delighted to support The Ringling as it achieves its bold and important vision for the future and are tremendously grateful to the donors, volunteers and staff who make inspiration possible every day.”

“John and Mable Ringling’s farsighted plan for The Ringling and Sarasota to become a leading center for the arts has come to fruition, thanks to the support and stewardship of Florida State University, our committed family of donors and enlightened museum management,” said Paul G. Hudson, chair of The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Foundation. “It is a pleasure to celebrate how far we have come and our exciting path ahead.”

Among the projects funded thus far through The Ringling Inspires campaign are the recently opened Center for Asian Art and the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion; the launch of the Art of Our Time initiative with residency programs for contemporary fine and performance artists and an institutional commitment to commission new works while strategically growing the modern and contemporary art collection; the transformation of the bayfront gardens with the David F. Bolger Campiello and Bolger Promenade; expanded youth and family programs marked by the opening of the David F. Bolger Playspace; the creation of the dynamic Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art; and the unveiling of permanent galleries devoted to The Ringling’s growing modern and contemporary collection. In addition, the museum has experienced unprecedented growth in its visitorship and membership.

“The Ringling’s commitment to providing access for visitors of all ages and abilities; our expanded collecting focus in studio art glass, Asian art, and modern and contemporary art; and the commitment to the visitor experience have been at the heart of this comprehensive campaign,” said Anna E. von Gehr, chief officer for advancement and The Ringling Inspires campaign director. “This inspiring evolution of what The Ringling means to Sarasota, to the State of Florida and to the global art world is due to our community’s belief in the power of philanthropy and pure faith in the power of art. The leadership, commitment and vision of the museum’s board of trustees, campaign chair, volunteers, staff and our donors, and their unwavering commitment to excellence, are to be commended.”

This final phase of the campaign is concentrated on three key goals: the preservation and restoration of Ca’ d’Zan; supporting community engagement and public programs that focus on inclusion and building long-term relationships with at-risk and underserved audiences; and expanding the global impact of The Ringling’s collections and scholarship through strategic acquisitions and innovative training programs for future museum leaders.

Specifically, the campaign seeks to raise funds to preserve Ca’ d’Zan, John and Mable Ringling’s magnificent Venetian Gothic winter residence, including the restoration of the Ringling’s historic swimming pool and rare Aeolian organ, as well as the establishment of a preservation endowment and named curatorship dedicated to the historic home.

The Ringling has been committed to engaging its diverse audiences through numerous low cost or free programs and outreach to underserved communities, with a focus on youth and families. Gifts to support the community engagement initiative will enable The Ringling to continue to increase its impact and accessibility through innovative programs such as The Ringling WEB: Where Everyone Belongs, where museum educators partner directly with nonprofits serving at-risk families and provide complimentary family museum memberships; museum educators’ structured curricular visits to schools and libraries; continuing education for teachers; and expanding free tours for Title 1 schools.

In addition, the campaign will fund strategic growth and access of The Ringling’s global collections, as well as support academic and professional programs jointly offered by FSU and The Ringling, including the M.A. in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, and the only Ph.D. program in museum education in the country, which will train the next generation of international museum curators and leaders.

“The Ringling is such a unique and dynamic place,” said Jeff Hotchkiss, The Ringling Inspires campaign committee chair. “This campaign is about preserving the symbolic heart and home of this great institution – the Ca’ d’Zan; building on The Ringling’s diverse audiences and experiences; and advancing our global reach through ambitious exhibitions, programs and research. I am ever grateful to the donors who have invested in our future and look forward to celebrating with the entire community when we reach our final goal, and together, take pride knowing that this great museum is poised to meet the needs of the 21st century.”

For more information about The Ringling Inspires: Honoring the Legacy and Building for the Future campaign and its remaining goals, please contact the Advancement Office at (941) 359- 5700 x5821.

About The Ringling
The Ringling is a preeminent center for the arts, history and learning that is dedicated to bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences. From its inception, The Ringling has joined the diverse visual traditions and theatrical spectacle of yesterday with the genre-defying global practitioners of today. A place of exploration, discovery and respite, The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida – which includes the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, a historic home, an 18th-century theater and bayfront gardens – is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling fulfills an important educational mission. The Ringling offers formal and informal programs of study serving as a major resource for students, scholars and lifelong learners of every age across the region and country and around the world.