December 30, 2009

Ringling College of Art and Design Launches Cinema in Sarasota

Sarasota a cinema destination? Not really, but the Florida city has taken a big step now that a team of Ringling College of Art and Design students have launched the SurREEL Cinema Lounge at the Westfield Sarasota Square Shopping Center.

Ringling students transformed a vacant jewelry store into the theater, which now showcases a selection of 20 of school’s best senior animation thesis projects from the past four years, many by students who have gone on to work as animators for Hollywood powerhouses, like DreamWorks Animation SKG, Pixar, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Interior design students were responsible for the look of the 1650-square-foot space, which features midnight blue walls and ceilings, theatrical draperies and an installation of paper lanterns and clouds. Westfield outfitted the lounge with home theater technology from both Samsung and Sears while Davis Furniture and Commercial Design Services of Tampa provided the seating.

The Lounge is open free-of-charge on a full-time basis, and Ringling plans to staff the space on Saturdays and offer art and design programs and lectures beginning in late January.

“The SurREEL Cinema Lounge at Westfield Sarasota Square offers Ringling College a dynamic forum to showcase the wide variety of skills our students possess—from the interior design of the space, the logo, signage and branding elements, to the ‘reel’ stars of the lounge—the animations themselves, says Ringling president Larry Thompson.

Todd Beckwith Westfield’s marketing director for its Sarasota locations adds “I am fortunate to be in this unique position that allows me to help foster awareness and recognition of Sarasota’s creative culture while creating and exciting and original experience for the more than 3 million annual visitors to Sarasota Square.”

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