One-of-a-Kind Gala Set to Debut New Wing at Ringling Museum
Sarasota, FL – January 24, 2007 – White-gloved service will set a refined and graceful tone for the opening gala of The Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art on Jan. 31, 2007 from 6-10 p.m.
The gala will cordially honor the generous philanthropist Ulla R. and the late Arthur F. Searing and celebrate the opening of the new gallery space that bears their names.
Mrs. Ulla R. Searing, who is Swedish born, is an active philanthropist (suggest another word since it was just used in previous sentence) and resident of Sarasota, Florida. She along with Arthur F. Searing, her husband of 30 years who died in 1983, arrived in Sarasota in 1973 and shared their time between Sarasota in the winter and Southampton, Long Island in the summer. When her husband retired, they explored the world and experienced the famous Museums, historical and cultural centers in all the countries they visited. They collected volumes of books on their interests with respect to history and art of the country in question. These long standing interests have played an important role in Mrs. Searing’s philanthropic decisions.
At 94 years old, she continues to be an active leader in Sarasota’s arts community. She has given generously to organizations including the Sarasota Opera, Youth Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Asolo Repertory Theater and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Mrs. Searing is also a supporter of higher education. She has given to the Ringling School of Art & Design and to the New College Foundation in honor of General Heiser who, as Mrs. Searing says, “changed a small school into the worldwide-known institution it is today.” Her generosity extends to her husband’s alma mater, Lehigh University, where she established the Searing Chair in Economics and Finance to support an outstanding faculty member in this area of study. Mrs. Searing splits her time between Sarasota and Southampton, NY.
“The Searing name now honors the Ringling Museum’s new art galleries as a lasting testament to the couple’s long-standing interest in history and the arts and will be a visible and lasting symbol of her philanthropy,” said Ringling Museum Executive Director Dr. John Wetenhall.
The gala will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the traditional ribbon cutting by Ulla R. Searing at 6:30 p.m., after which guests will tour the new exhibitions in the new Searing Wing, followed by a lavish dinner in the prestigious Rubens galleries and catered by local culinary genius Paul Mattison. Throughout the evening, guests will be treated to special touches reflecting Mrs. Searing’s beloved Swedish heritage including a blue and yellow color scheme and select culinary delicacies.
Ringling Museum’s curatorial staff will draw attention to special pieces in two spectacular traveling exhibitions, Bedazzled, 5,000 years of Jewelry from the Walters Art
Museum and Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibitions. Guests will also view, for the first time, the long awaited rendezvous of an important painting by Frans Hals, Portrait of Pieter Jacobsz Olycan, and the presumed portrait of his wife, Maritge Voogt Claesdr on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Guests will also have the opportunity to marvel at select pieces of elegant, yet resolute jades from Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt and Blanc de Chine from the Ringling Museum’s Asian Art collection.
Ringling Museum Executive Director, Dr. John Wetenhall, will also share the incredible story of the Ringling Museum’s transformation into one of the nation’s 20 largest museums in an impressive five year span. What began as John Ringling’s personal vision has evolved into a world-renowned cultural legacy with the opening of the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing.
A series of special events to celebrate the opening of the new wing and the completion of the Museum’s master plan will follow the opening night gala.
- Feb. 1, 2007 - A dedication ceremony and unveiling of the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion will begin at 5:30 p.m. and be followed by a preview of The Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing. An invitation-only VIP Reception will follow from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
- Feb. 2, 2007 – A Museum Members Only Celebration will be held from 1-5 p.m. and a special staff reception will be from 5:30-8:00 p.m.
- Feb. 3, 2007 - The Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing will officially open to the public debuting the two traveling and pocket exhibitions.
Tickets for the gala are $500 and formal invitations and RSVP cards are available by calling 941.359.5700 Ext. 5705.
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