Ringling Makes Match With Museum

ATLANTA The Ringling School of Art and Design said it has merged with the Sarasota Museum of Art, making the museum a division of the school.

The school and museum plan to restore the vacant Sarasota High School building and occupy the 1926 Gothic-style structure. The museum will be on the first floor of the building and the school will use second and third floors for classrooms and studio space. The building will be named the Visual Arts Education Center.

Several art patrons in Sarasota began soliciting donations and forming the museum early last year. The museum’s 15-member board of directors approved the merger with Ringling last month. That group will become an advisory board to the school under the terms of the merger.

“Ringling School is our ideal partner,” said Wendy Surkis, president of the Sarasota Museum of Art. “It provides an extensive infrastructure and depth of resources along with a powerful national and international reputation.”

The Ringling School is a private, nonprofit institution that opened in 1931 in Sarasota, Fla., and now offers a bachelor of fine arts in computer animation, fine arts, graphic and interactive communications, illustration, interior design and photography. The campus covers 35 acres and has about 1,100 students from 46 states and 28 foreign countries.