The Ringling and Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition Announce New Collaboration

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC). The Ringling will be providing guidance and expertise in assisting the SAACC with storage of a recent gift from Michael Berger. Berger, who splits his time between Sarasota and Pittsburgh, recently acquired and donated Five Florida “Highwaymen” paintings and pieces by Sam Gilliam and Radcliffe Bailey. These pieces will assist to build the collection of the SAACC’s upcoming art center and history museum that celebrates black life, art, history, heritage and culture. The SAACC is currently fundraising to construct the new building. 

Michael Berger said, “”I’ve followed the progress of SAACC to open a facility that illuminates the work of African American artists. We’re thankful to The Ringling and Steven High for storing these important works of art until SAACC’s permanent center and museum opens.”

“A new cultural asset, the Sarasota African American Art Center and History Museum will offer culturally immersive experiences that include exhibitions, classes, demonstrations, panel discussions, outdoor festivals and performances” said SAACC Executive Director, Vickie Oldham.” Our success greatly depends on forming partnerships with long standing institutions such as the John and Mable Ringling Museum. The offer to store artwork donated to SAACC by a collector is greatly appreciated. We’re anxious to jointly present programs with the museum that celebrate and explore issues of race, identity, class, social justice, history and culture through art.”

The SAACC has partnerships with 35 arts and cultural institutions and organizations and is dedicated to preserving, celebrating and sharing the cultural, artistic, and historical heritage of African Americans in Sarasota and beyond.

“The Ringling is thrilled to be able to partner with the SAACC in assisting in the care of their emerging collection,” said Steven High, The Ringling’s Executive Director.” The Sarasota community will greatly benefit from the addition of SAACC’s museum space and cultural center. We are excited to see this project move ahead and look forward to future collaborations.”


About The SAACC

The Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition, Inc. is a tax-exempt organization in the development stage of opening a facility that brings diverse people together and invites residents and visitors to explore and celebrate African American art, culture, history and entrepreneurship. It will be accessible to all and provide a safe space for discussions about race, identity, class, social justice, history and culture.


About The Ringling

The Ringling is a pre-eminent center for the arts, history and learning that is dedicated to bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences. From its inception, The Ringling has joined the diverse visual traditions and theatrical spectacle of yesterday with the genre-defying global practitioners of today. 

A place of exploration, discovery and respite, The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida – which includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, an historic mansion, an 18th-century theater and bayfront gardens – is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling fulfills an important educational mission. The Ringling offers formal and informal programs of study serving as a major resource for students, scholars, and lifelong learners of every age within the region, across the country and around the world.


Photo Credit: The Ringling

Date Posted: September 8, 2021

Written By

Editor of

Leave a Comment