In an interview with the32789, the director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM), Ena Heller, disclosed that the museum will relocate to a new facility and plans to undergo a complete rebrand this September revealing a new name: the Rollins Museum of Art.
The Rollins Museum of Art plans to build a spacious, more contemporary building on what is currently a parking lot located just one block from Park Avenue and across the street from The Alfond Inn. The new facility will feature more extensive galleries, study rooms, an education center, an auditorium, and a café. The museum anticipates that guest attendance will double within the new facility’s first year and aims to begin construction on the significant $22.6 million project sometime in 2023.
“The reason for relocating is really very simple,” Heller said. “It’s the extraordinary growth we’ve experienced over the last decade and the realization that we need a bigger platform to fully serve a larger community on campus, in Winter Park, greater Orlando, and beyond. There’s great potential because of the growth of the collection and our programming to be able to serve a wider constituency, but we cannot do it where we are right now.”
The private fundraising campaign for a new facility has been in the works for a while now—four years to be exact. After President Grant Cornwell arrived on campus, the Rollins administration conducted a comprehensive, strategic assessment of the entire college, and the need for a better, larger facility to house the CFAM rose to a top priority. Heller and the museum’s administration plan to take the Rollins Museum of Art campaign into its public phase later this fall.
According to Heller, Rollins Museum of Art will allow the museum to continue serving Rollins, which has housed the museum on campus since 1978, and offer the greater Winter Park community educational experiences for learners of all ages on and off-campus, emphasizing depth and diversity, thoughtfulness, interdisciplinary, and dialogue in its new season.
“We wanted to rebrand into Rollins Museum of Art because we believe it indicates better who we are and what we do,” Heller said. “The museum has always been part of the Rollins brand. We are the only teaching museum in our area; we’ve always been very squarely centered on our teaching mission and the educational experiences we offer to learners of all ages. I think the rebrand reinforces our teaching mission that makes us unique in our wider community. We think it will be especially important when we move off-campus to make it very clear that we are part of Rollins College and that we are committed to the value of a liberal arts education.”
Over the last decade, fundraising and support have grown sevenfold due to growth in visibility for the museum, which has added 900 new works to its collection and has made headlines in notable publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, and The Art Newspaper. As they move into the final stage of the capital campaign, Heller and her team believe this is the right moment to introduce the Rollins Museum of Art in its new facility, which embodies both its recent history and vision for its future.
“I’m most excited for the opportunity this gives our team at the museum to rethink the collection and the story of art that we’re telling with it,” Heller said. “As many art institutions are in the wake of 2020 events, the museum has been going through a lot of soul-searching recently. I think we have an amazing chance to redress certain narratives and to create an environment where more people can engage with art from more perspectives and points of view.”
Three days before COVID-19 halted in-person events last year, the City of Winter Park approved the museum’s new location, a facility 100% dependent on fundraising efforts made by the administration. On September 18, the museum plans to launch its inaugural season as The Rollins Museum of Art, bringing back in-person events, classes, and its new exhibitions free of cost. Through its new season, rebrand, and expansion, the Rollins Museum of Art aims to serve a larger community and a more diverse community.
“The new season will showcase exhibitions by a contemporary Puerto Rican artist—an exhibition and collecting priority for the museum that started with the growth of the Puerto Rican community [in Central Florida] after hurricane Maria,” Heller said. “Our new season will start the conversation of how we are looking at our collection, with anticipation for the new facility, to tell a more comprehensive and inclusive story of art.”
Founded in 1885, Rollins College is Florida’s oldest liberal arts college and has represented some of the country’s most dedicated artists, art advocates, and most prestigious pieces making up a collection of over 5,700 works. In 1981, the museum became Florida’s first college museum accredited by the American Association of Museums, now known as the American Alliance of Museums.
The Rollins Museum of Art plans to announce more exciting news for fall exhibitions, launch celebrations, and community events sometime later this summer.
For more information, visit the website.