Welcome to The Ringling
We are fortunate at The Ringling to have 66 acres of beautiful grounds that interconnect our different museums and facilities. These grounds also contain over 200 species of trees, 400 species of wooded shrubs, and three small ponds that are home to fish, turtles, and a diverse waterfowl population. The fourth volume of our Art Spaces series, published in late 2013, focuses on the Grounds and Gardens of the Ringling Estate and is the first publication to document this evolving landscape. Authored by Maureen Zaremba, curator for educational programs, and Kevin Greene, Ringling landscape superintendant, the publication explores the history of the estate, the evolving use of the grounds, and highlights key landscape features including our different gardens, courtyards, and walkways. With beautiful photographs of the estate, the book is required reading for anyone who enjoys the Ringling grounds. It is now available in The Ringling Store.
Accompanying the launch of Grounds and Gardens, The Ringling’s education department has launched a new tour that focuses on the estate. Every Friday and Saturday you can join one of our specially trained docents at 10:30 am for a 90-minute walking tour of the grounds. The tours will change with the seasons and will feature different trees and plants but will also provide an historic overview of how the estate has evolved since John and Mable Ringling’s time. Tickets are required and available at ringling.org.
Visitors touring the grounds this spring will notice a number of changes. Construction on our new center for Asian Art is underway on the west side of the Museum of Art. Our apologies for the noise and mess of a construction site, but we are all excited about the new facility designed by architects Machado and Silvetti Associates. The new center is currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2015. This past October we opened the Gatehouse Patio, a new reception and gathering space located between the Ringling Gatehouse and the Visitor Pavilion. This space provides additional room for groups to gather prior to entering the museum and during events held at the Historic Asolo Theater. On the winter solstice, we opened a site specific installation by the Romanian-American artist Leonard Ursachi. This is the first in what will be an ongoing annual commission to invite an artist to create a unique temporary installation on our grounds. Ursachi’s work, titled Fat Boy, comes from his ongoing series of Bunker installations, however, its form adopts the visage of a baroque putto of immense size left abandoned on the estate. I hope you will search out the sculpture on your next visit. Finally, in January we celebrated the opening of the David F. Bolger Playspace located near the Banyan Cafe. This new area of the grounds, designed for youth of all ages and abilities, features specially designed play equipment by Richter Spielgeräte of Frasdorf, Germany who has been an international leader in the design of play spaces for over 40 years.
There continues to be a frenzy of activity on the grounds and in the galleries of The Ringling. This quarter’s edition of the Ringling Magazine explores some of the exciting new projects occurring this spring and our commitment to educational programming for all ages. The grounds, our facilities, and programs would not be possible without the support of you, our members. All of us at The Ringling thank you for your continuing support of the programs and exhibitions of the museum. I hope you will visit us often.