More than 3,250 people poured into the Ringling Museum Saturday for its Community Free Day to celebrate the completion of its $100 million Ringling Inspires campaign—a years-long campaign, supported by 65,000 individual donations, which has led to enormous transformation of the 66-acre bayfront complex.
Among the many achievements, monies raised have:
- Nearly doubled the permanent collection of artwork;
- Created the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Center for Asian Art, David F. Bolger Campiello and Promenade, David F. Bolger Playspace, Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Grand Hall, Charles and Charlotte Perret Family Performance Studio, Nancy Ellis Tea House, Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art, David W. and Mary S. Benfer Courtyard and Willis Smith Ticket Booth.
- Significantly restored John and Mable Ringling’s Italianate mansion, the Ca’ d’Zan;
- Nearly doubled the museum’s endowment, “ensuring the future of the Ringling going forward,” says museum director Steven High;
- Grew membership from 6,000 to 10,250 households;
- Endowed two key curatorial positions;
- And created the “Where Everyone Belongs” (WEB) program and endowed a new community engagement fellow; WEB is considered a new national model for reaching at-risk families.
The Ringling Inspires campaign actually exceeded its $100 million goal a year ahead of schedule. At a party for donors and supporters in the museum courtyard Saturday evening, Florida State University President John Thrasher was presented with a symbolic check for $101,330,000. (The Ringling is a division of FSU.) Ringling Inspires, Thrasher told the group, has The Ringling “poised for the 21st century and beyond, transforming this great museum into a cultural leader not just in Florida, but in the nation.”