Ringling shutting door on Longboat Art Center

In a move to expand upon its community education programming and consider new initiatives on the island of Longboat Key, Ringling College of Art and Design announced Friday that it plans to close the Longboat Key Center for the Arts in May 2017 (the end of the 2016-17 Season

The land on which the Longboat Key Center for the Arts resides will be sold to a private developer who plans to construct single family housing on the 2.3 acre site.

The Town of Longboat Key has been in discussions with Ringling College to develop plans for a new Longboat Key Center for the Arts, Culture, and Education that would be constructed on the south end of the island. Under the plan developed by the Town in conjunction with Ringling College, the Town would own the facility, the College would operate it under a long-term lease, and the funds to construct it would be raised by the Longboat Key Foundation.

“It is certainly with a heavy heart that we have decided to close the Longboat Key Center for the Arts,” remarks Dr. Larry R. Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art and Design. “But we are excited to find new ways to collaborate with the community of Longboat Key. There is so much interest on Longboat Key in arts, culture, and education, and we believe the new facility would be located in a more central location to serve all the residents of Longboat Key. The new facility envisioned by the Town will allow for opportunities we just did not have the capacity to provide at the Longboat Key Center for the Arts.”

“It’s a new era of opportunity for Ringling College and the residents of Longboat Key,” explains Cheryl Loeffler, former Chair of the Ringling College Board of Trustees and resident of Longboat Key. “We have been working hand in hand with the Town of Longboat Key to build a center that truly reflects the current needs and wants of the residents of Longboat Key, and we are excited to see this plan roll out in the months and years to come.”

Jane Buckman served as LBKCA Director since 2007. Just this month, she announced plans to resign as Director of LBKCA and serve as Deputy Director of Saint Petersburg’s newest museum devoted to glass art, the Imagine Museum. Her position will be filled in the interim to continue events, exhibitions, and classes scheduled through the end of May.

In 2007, Longboat Key Center for the Arts, a once-independent art center, approached Ringling College about the College merging with the facility so it could continue to offer art and design experiences to the community of Longboat Key. For the last ten years, the center has operated as a division of Ringling College, providing exhibitions, community classes, concerts, lectures, and film screenings.


About Ringling College of Art and Design

For 85 years, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit fully accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ten disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, first-year program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. www.ringling.edu

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2 Responses for “Ringling shutting door on Longboat Art Center”

  1. Very true. This was the site of many great historical and folk music shows. Will McLean and Bill Hewitt played here. Must have been a hundred influential folk performers played here. Cousin Thelma Bolton told stories and sang folk songs. Bob Pavitt. Bud and Gracie Klien. Slade Clewett. The Dual Hydraulic Pipe and Jug Band. If anyone has photographs of those early music shows please contact rachelcameron.com because I’d love to see them. I also have recordings.

  2. Lizzie Brown says:

    I am deeply saddened by the decision to close the Arts Center and build new houses on the site. The Village of Longboat Key is a special Florida enclave consisting of mainly small homes built in the 1950s. It’s a peaceful place with few cars and pleasant occupants mostly of retirement age. It’s hard to find similar magical places in Florida. And now the Village will change dramatically and lose it’s special charm.

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