Marcophiles: Don Farmer & Chris Curle - World class art and a business switch

The Sarasota/Marco art connection, and restaurateur Judy Barney's new business venture

Ringling Museum
Bigger than life works by larger than life masters are on brilliant display at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.

Ringling Museum Bigger than life works by larger than life masters are on brilliant display at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.

Ringling Museum
Ca dâ’Zan, John and Mable Ringlingâ’s winter residence on the Sarasotaâ’s gulf coast is a wealth of historical luxury, indoors and out, featuring Venetian classic splendor and objects dâ’art.

Ringling Museum Ca dâ’Zan, John and Mable Ringlingâ’s winter residence on the Sarasotaâ’s gulf coast is a wealth of historical luxury, indoors and out, featuring Venetian classic splendor and objects dâ’art.

Ringling Museum
The Asolo Theater at the Ringling complex is thought to be the only 18th century theater in America, built in 1798 near Venice, Italy, later relocated and restored at the Ringling estate. It will host many events in the major arts festival in Sarasota Oct. 7 to 11.

Ringling Museum The Asolo Theater at the Ringling complex is thought to be the only 18th century theater in America, built in 1798 near Venice, Italy, later relocated and restored at the Ringling estate. It will host many events in the major arts festival in Sarasota Oct. 7 to 11.

It’s likely that some Marco Islanders will be taking the two-hour or so drive up I-75 to Sarasota next month for a major art festival. But our own Art League on Marco already has sent young people on art scholarships to the Ringling arts complex.

Moreover, our Art League: Marco’s Center for the Arts, encourages increasing relationships with the Ringling arts scene. Think of it as a big bonus, a plus to people here interested in the arts.

Since 2000 the Art League has given out more than $100,000 in scholarships to Collier County high school students who want to pursue a career or at least a study of the arts. Some choose the Ringling College of Arts and Design, a private, not-for-profit college.

It’s a good bet the big event in Sarasota Oct. 7-11, the first Ringling International Arts Festival, will be the place to be for crowds of art-lovers, would-be artists and proud parents of kids who see artistic creativity in their futures.

We went to the Ringling campus last week to have a first hand look at its variety of attractions. It was one of the best quick-trip-off-the-island type vacations we’ve taken in years. So much to see and do, so little time. Here are a few of our favorite Sarasota things, in case the arts or any other interests take you there:

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the State Art Museum of Florida, under the aegis of Florida State University. It anchors the 66-acre estate of the late circus pioneer and his family.

This museum is highly regarded for its collection of European, American and Asian art. The works of master Paul Peter Rubens are displayed in almost pristine beauty in this museum. This Flemish painter was a superstar of the Baroque Era and his giant works defy our small-type descriptions.

Mr. Ringling also used his circus-generated millions to buy the works of van Dyck, Titian, El Greco, Gainsborough and many more.

The museum was his dream come true, his own museum in the spirit of other world-class institutions, but this one making Sarasota a cultural destination.

Yes, there is a circus presence here, the Ringling Museum of the American Circus, a one of a kind place for kids and adults alike. It is worth a visit for sure, but is overshadowed by the quality, stature and stunning beauty of what was the winter residence of John and Mable (yes, she spelled it that way), a Venetian Gothic mansion named Ca d’Zan (House of John in Venetian Italian dialect.)

It’s a splendid example of opulence in a gulf coast setting as good as one can be. Tourists can get a good look inside and outside of the mansion for a modest fee. It’s a centerpiece, well a co-centerpiece if that’s possible, of the Ringling estate, a glittering jewel just two hours from Marco Island.

We’ll try to give you more information on visiting the Sarasota area for the art festival in October closer to time. Meantime two Web sites might whet your arts appetite: ringling.org andringlingartsfestival.org.

Successful Marco businesswoman is opening another place here

What prominent Marco Island restaurateur is about to open a new place on the island? Hint: The new place is not a restaurant.

Answer: Judy Barney, co-owner of Arturo’s Italian Ristorante on Bald Eagle is bringing a high quality clothing consignment shop to the island.

Cleverly named “2wice As Nice,” the shop will open in mid-September at 291 S. Collier Blvd., across the street from the Madeira condo building. Old-timers here will know the location as that once occupied by the Alpine Deli.

“We’ll concentrate on women’s clothing and accessories, handbags, shoes, that sort of thing,” Judy tells us. “Every woman should be able to look like a million without spending a million.”

That’s Judy’s way of saying she hope people here will go through their closets and bring their nice clothing in good condition and be compensated when the merchandise sells to other clients of 2wice As Nice.

We asked why this is a good time to open a new business here.

“It’s our own true stimulus package as one of my colleagues puts it,” Judy explains. “We hope to give island women who bring in their things and those who come to buy them a positive experience.

Women can make appointments to take in items for consignment sale by phoning Cris at (239) 200-3022.

Watch this space for details, including the exact opening day. Meantime, your bulging closets await your attention.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail her at chris@chriscurle.com.

Don Farmer is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail him at don@donfarmer.com.

Marcophiles appears weekly in the Wednesday edition of the Eagle.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features