The Ringling College of Art and Design received a treat to ring in its Halloween weekend.
The college announced Ringling College board trustee Dr. Richard Basch and his wife, Barbara, a Sarasota Museum of Art board member, gifted the institution $3 million to go toward the completion of a 20,000-square-foot visual arts center. The facility is projected to open Dec. 31, 2016.
This is just another entry in a history of gifts and leadership provided by the Basches. The couple’s ties with Ringling College began in 2003 when they served as board members for the Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA). In their roles as board members, they gave a seven-figure gift for capital funds toward the renovation of historic Sarasota High School, home of SMOA.
Then, in 2008, the two gave their collection of approximately 270 contemporary, glass art pieces to Ringling College, worth an estimated value of more than $5.5 million. In addition, the Basch Gallery at the Ringling College Academic Center was established to display a portion of their collection to the general public.
Today’s gift will improve the college’s emphasis and studies on the fine arts, including wood, sculpture, glass and clay. The new visual arts center will also include exhibition and gallery space as well as the potential for studios dedicated to the study and implementation of fiber, jewelry and metal in works of art.
“The new facility will have a tremendous impact on teaching and learning at the college,” says Jeff Bellantoni, Ringling's vice president for academic affairs. “The ability to use materials effectively to express ideas is a critical foundation for all visual art disciplines, and this facility will contribute to the growth and nurturing of young artists and designers for many years to come.”