Fifty years after the emergence of the studio glass movement in the US and the revival of glass art in post-war Europe, glass has become a highly esteemed and immensely popular medium. The Sarasota region boasts a high concentration of studio glass objects and collectors, and its prominence in the contemporary glass world continues to rise.
In April, The Ringling will break ground on the 5,500-square-foot Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, which will be sited adjacent to the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion. Opening in 2017, it will showcase The Ringling’s growing permanent collection of American and European studio glass, including major gifts donated by Nancy and Philip Kotler and Margot and Warren Coville. These remarkable collections will comprise the majority of works on display in a dramatic space that has been designed to emphasize the objects’ dazzling brilliance.
“Thanks to the generous gifts from the Kotler and Coville families, historic and contemporary studio glass is a new and exciting collecting focus for The Ringling,” said Dr. Matthew McLendon, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “These objects and the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion allow The Ringling to increase public access to the collection and introduce or reintroduce our community to the importance of studio glass.”
We are delighted to support The Ringling in developing and showcasing its growing studio glass collection and look froward to sharing the medium’s many facets through this marvelous new pavilion. -The Kotler and Coville families
Designed by Lewis + Whitlock, a regional architectural firm recognized for its commitment to innovative and sustainable design, the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion is the first building that visitors will encounter upon entering the grounds through the historic Ca’ d’Zan gate. The prominence of this visually striking building is intended to signal that one is leaving behind the everyday and entering an extraordinary place. The Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion will be characterized by an engaging sculptural façade, which uses glass as a principal material, enabling views into the gallery from the outside while, at the same time, controlling light levels. Additionally, minimal interior finishes will provide a neutral backdrop to the works on display.
“It was only natural that the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion’s dynamic façade, with its light-controlling fins, would be inspired by the sculptural effects that wind and water have on sand, a principal ingredient in the glass-making process,” said Hays Layerd, Creative Director, Lewis + Whitlock. “Working together with The Ringling leaders to realize their vision of this important new addition to their historic site was exceptionally gratifying.”
As a sign of its continuing commitment to the glass medium and its development, The Ringling recently acquired Sideboard with Blue China, a monumental and intricate wood and glass sideboard by renowned American artist Beth Lipman. The acquisition of this important new glass work was made possible by a major gift from Dan Denton, Board member of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Foundation and founder of Sarasota Magazine. “I was inspired by the collecting achievements and generosity of the Kotlers and Covilles,” Denton said. “I wanted to honor them and show my strong support for the Ringling’s contemporary initiatives, and when I learned that the sideboard—so magnificent when I first saw it in the galleries last year at Lipman’s exhibition Precarious Possessions—was at the top of Matthew McLendon’s wish list, I was thrilled to make the commitment. The work’s grandeur evokes the Ringling’s history, its subject matter speaks directly to the Museum’s mission of collecting, and in its transparency it defers respectfully to the spectacular Kotler and Coville collections that will surround it.”
In addition to exhibiting rotating selections from The Ringling’s glass collection, the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion will just as importantly serve as the new formal entrance to the Historic Asolo Theater. “The Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion provides a wonderful new entrance and reception areas for The Ringling’s performing arts patrons, as well as much-needed rehearsal space and accommodations for our guest artists,” said Dwight Currie, Curator of Performance.
“The Ringling’s strategic goals have included improving the flow of visitors upon arrival, providing the Historic Asolo Theater with its own dedicated lobby entrance, and growing our studio glass collection,” said Executive Director Steven High. “It is a wonderful new entry experience for our visitors and one that strongly communicates that The Ringling is a significant presenter of both visual and performing arts and has a commitment to performers and visual artists engaged in creating the art of our time.