Local art leaders and community patrons rejoiced today with the official groundbreaking of the incoming Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Made possible by donations from Philip and Nancy Kotler and Warren and Margot Coville, the planned 5,500-square-foot addition to the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion will not only provide the first dedicated space for the exhibition of studio glass at the museum but also serve as the new formal entrance to the Historic Asolo Theater. “We are just delighted to do this for the museum and the city,” said Philip Kotler. Warren Coville remarked on the juxtaposition of contemporary glass and the landmark theater. “This is a true blending of the new and the old,” he said.
Designed by the Tallahassee architectural firm Architects: Lewis + Whitlock, the virtually all-glass construction maximizes the potential for natural light and pays homage to its eventual occupants, while an array of adjustable blade-like fins linked across the outer wall allow curatorial control over glaring sunlight. Scheduled for a Fall 2017 opening, the pavilion will initially house selections from the donated Kotler and Coville collections, but according to Ringling Executive Director Steven High, serves as a greater signal to the community of the institution’s dedication to a future continued exploration of contemporary and studio glass. “Today is a culmination of dreaming about what glass could be at The Ringling,” he said.
Alongside the new entrance, construction will entail an expansion of additional Historic Asolo Theater facilities, including new dressing rooms and a rehearsal space roughly the size of the existing main stage. A “major milestone,” according to Florida State University President John Thrasher, the combined enhancements “will serve as a chief reminder that The Ringling is the place to experience the best in visual and performing arts.”