Dr. Gordon Rubin

Dr. Gordon Rubin and his late wife, Phyllis, shared a life-long passion for design, architecture, historic preservation, and contemporary art. When Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA) board members, Linda and Dick Dickinson, introduced Dr. Rubin to Ringling College’s plan to repurpose the old Sarasota High School building into a visual arts education center and modern and contemporary art museum, he was immediately intrigued. 

He was attracted by the effort to preserve the building, which reminded him of the Brooklyn, NY, of his youth. “The idea that they’re not taking it down is really nice,” he said. And he loved the plan to bring contemporary art to Sarasota. 

He was also struck by a special element of the building’s new space—a bridge on the third floor overlooking SMOA’s lobby. It reminded him of the first Sarasota home he shared with Phyllis. 

The innovative design of their Siesta Key house had included a bridge connecting the structure’s two buildings. He and Phyllis had loved the Sarasota School of Architecture house, which had been owned by renowned artist Syd Solomon. “It was like living in a piece of sculpture,” says Dr. Rubin. 

In 2008, to honor Phyllis and to show his support for SMOA, Dr. Rubin donated $250,000 toward the project. In fitting recognition of his generosity, the third floor bridge will be named The Phyllis and Gordon Rubin Walkway.


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