Ringling Unveils New Library, New Mural
The Ringling College of Art and Design community came together this past Monday to celebrate the next step in the institution’s development with the opening of the new Alfred R. Goldstein Ringling College Library. To mark the occasion, a line of faculty, students, college officials and community supporters formed a human chain to transport books from the old library in the Kimbrough Building through the courtyard and across and down the street to the doors of the new facility in a ceremonial “passing of the books,” culminating in an address from Ringling College President Dr. Larry Thompson and the unveiling of a three-story mural inside the building.
Located on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Old Bradenton Road, the $18-million construction opens just in time for the spring semester, and though the official ribbon cutting remains two weeks away, students and faculty will now have access to the new library 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Coming in at 46,000 square feet, the Alfred R. Goldstein library contains, in addition to 65,000 books and periodicals, a 24-hour computer lab on the first floor, group study rooms on all three floors and collaborative spaces where students have access to technology such as digital scanners and tablets.
To further feed inquisitive minds within its walls, the Goldstein Library also plays host to a monumental mural from local artist Julie Kanapaux entitled Momentum. Wrapped around all sides of a central rectangular column running three stories tall with paired sides measuring roughly 30 and 50 feet long, the abstract and striated mural changes colors as it ascends towards the ceiling, documenting different aspects of human discovery, from the mechanical gears of one side to the artistic renderings of neural synapses on another. Comprising myriad works from Kanapaux’s last 15 years as an artist, all were transferred to digital form for the creation of the mural, something Kanapaux sees as fitting for a library on a campus where the fine arts meet future tech. Bold and colorful, the sense of energy she also finds fitting. “Although the library is a quiet space physically, it’s certainly not a quiet space mentally,” Kanapaux says. “I imagine time spent there by students sketching ideas and I wanted to stimulate new thought. What I love about abstract work is it gives the viewer the opportunity to interpret.”
A Ringling graduate herself with the class of 2000, Kanapaux remembers spending time in the old Kimbrough library, flipping through art history books for ideas and inspiration, and sees only further opportunity for today’s students in the new space. “A new space will really inspire students to visit more frequently and hopefully for longer periods of time,” she says. “There’s a tremendous amount of resources available.”
Pictured: View of Kanapaux's "Momentum" from the second floor of the Alfred R. Goldstein Library. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.