In 2018, Ringling College of Art and Design partnered with Art Ovation Hotel, an Autograph Collection Hotel which recently opened its doors in downtown Sarasota. Working through the Collaboratory, the arm of the College that connects talented students with local businesses, Ringling College works with the Hotel to infuse its public and private spaces with artwork from local artists, including Ringling College students, graduates, faculty, and staff, and create a microcosm of the thriving arts scene in the beachside town. The team announced its partnership in April 2018 with the exhibition LEGACY: An Exhibit by Ringling College of Art and Design Faculty and Alumni. The show included more than 50 works by 12 artists across media including paintings, photographs, video, installations, and sculptures.
The hotel’s cultural curator, Francine Birbragher, selects work for new installations in the hotel every four months. In addition to the first exhibition, LEGACY, the hotel just opened a tribute exhibition to Leslie Lerner, a seasoned artist and former Fine Arts faculty member for 15 years at Ringling College on May 1. The exhibition honors his legacy with work by six of his students.
But the collaboration goes beyond artwork in the lobbies/galleries of the hotel. The visitor experience is shaped by the work of emerging artists and students of Ringling College. Since the two institutions came together, the students have inspired and informed the Hotel’s experience in the following ways:
In the hotel gift shop, guests and visitors will find items for sale that were created at Ringling College, as well as a "Leslie Lerner 25 Years" monogram, from which $50 of the sales will go to the Lerner Thompson scholarship fund at Ringling College. As guests proceed to their rooms, they will find a dedicated TV channel showcasing Ringling College content, created by the College.
The collaboration provides countless intangible benefits to the community and to the institutions involved: the guest experiences, professional opportunities for students and alumni, and enhanced cultural offerings for Art Ovation. Guests of the hotel are also invited to Ringling College campus to visit the on-campus Galleries and their openings, lectures, and events.
However, the partnership also delivers to the community and to artists and students in a measurable way. In fact, 30% of the proceeds from sales of Ringling College-Art Ovation exhibitions support Ringling College scholarships and 70% goes to the artist. To date, $9000.00 has been raised toward arts scholarship through art sales at Art Ovation.
Walk through the galleries and public exhibition spaces, pick up artwork at the gift shop, or stay at Art Ovation Hotel for a discounted Ringling College rate to experience this collaboration in action.