SARASOTA — The Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College of Art and Design has opened to the public.
The contemporary art museum operates under the parent institution of Ringling College. The museum anchors the Ringling College Museum Campus in Sarasota at 1001 S. Tamiami Trail. The campus is also home to the college’s Continuing Studies program, comprised of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College and the non-credit Studio and Digital Arts program, according to a press release.
The museum takes over two former Sarasota High School buildings — a 60,000-square-foot 1926 Collegiate Gothic structure designed by M. Leo Elliott and a 20,000-square-foot mid-century building by Paul Rudolph. The adaptive reuse project was led by Lawson Group Architects with Terence Riley, principal of K/R, as the museum design architect.
The Sarasota Art Museum has 15,000 square feet of dedicated exhibition space; areas dedicated to site-specific and site-responsive art installations; a plaza court with sculpture; a Great Lawn for temporary sculpture, installation and performance programming; a 110-seat auditorium for educational events and performances; a retail store; and a cafe that's expected to open in the spring. The campus also includes classrooms and making spaces for Ringling’s Continuing Studies program, the release states.
“This day has been long-anticipated by all who have supported making this vision for a world-class contemporary art museum for our community a reality,” Ringling College President Larry Thompson says in the statement. “The Sarasota Art Museum is integral to Ringling College’s mission to develop and prepare artists to create relevant and meaningful art of our time. We are so thankful to all who have helped to make it possible for us not only to bring this amazing cultural institution to our region, but also to preserve an iconic piece of Sarasota’s history.”