The front door of the Ringling complex that houses the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Ca d’Zan, the Historic Asolo Theater, the Circus Museum, Education Center and Bayfront Gardens is about to receive a major remodel.
Longboat Key residents Philip and Nancy Kotler and Bird Key residents Warren and Margot Coville, who have been longtime contributors to the art museum and Florida State University, have collaborated to provide two major gifts to create the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion. The pavilion is projected to open in fall 2017 and will act not only as a new formal entrance to the Ringling facility but also be a permanent gallery for studio glass art. The Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion project was also made possible by assistance and cooperation from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
With the vast majority of the funding for construction coming from the Kotler-Coville collaboration, according to Steven High, executive director of the Ringling, construction will cost approximately $5 million. High also said that the rest of the year will be spent searching for a lead architect and designer for the pavilion project with construction to begin sometime around January or February 2016.
“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,” says High. “We are grateful that they entrusted their collections, their financial support and their names to us.”
Inspired by the two couple’s shared love of studio art glass, the work that will be on display will come from the respective familes' personal glass collection. The two collections combined will be approximately 250 to 300 pieces of glass art that will be on display in the new pavilion. Previously, the Philip and Nancy Kotler Glass Collection was displayed from November 2013 to June 2014 at the museum. Also, the Covilles donated a collection of photography to the museum in 2012.
In addition to the revitalized entrance and new display for contemporary glass art, the Kotlers and Covilles’ gift will also upgrade the Historic Asolo Theater. Planned additions include a new rehearsal room for visiting performers as well as a concession area in the new lobby and reception area on the second floor for future theater patrons. This will allow the Ringling to expand on its increased interest and dedication to performance art.
Philip Kotler is the S.C. Johnson distinguished professor of international marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and has written more than 50 books surrounding the nature and strategies of marketing, including the nature of museum marketing. Nancy Kotler is a retired attorney and college instructor who helped form the couple’s extensive studio glass collection.
“This is a dream come true for us,” says Nancy Kotler. “We’ve always wanted the public to have access to this relatively unknown glass work.”
Warren Coville served as an aerial photographer for the United States during World War II. He is a retired photographer who specialized in portraiture as well as supplying photo-finishing services in the Detroit area. Margot Coville is a Holocaust survivor who has dedicated her life to creating four separate philanthropic organizations along with her husband.
“The performing arts have made a mark in the world for Sarasota,” says Warren Coville, “and we feel we can make a real step forward with this gift to encourage and inspire others to give to the arts as well.”