Introducing the Rollins Museum of Art

September 02, 2021

By Stephanie Rizzo ’09

An artist's rendering of the new Rollins Museum of Art
Photo by Rollins Museum of Art.

The newly rebranded Rollins Museum of Art has undergone transformative growth in the past decade and is ready for a new phase in its institutional history.

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is kicking off the fall season in dramatic fashion, with a new name and brand identity that embraces both its recent history and a vision for the future.

The newly minted Rollins Museum of Art is poised to undergo a complete transformation, starting with a new moniker and culminating in a new state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of downtown Winter Park. As part of the College’s Innovation Triangle expansion project, the reimagined museum will more than triple the space of the current facility and include larger galleries, study rooms, an educational wing, and an auditorium and cafe.

“The museum has always been part of the Rollins brand, offering educational experiences for learners of all ages on and off campus—with an emphasis on depth and diversity, thoughtfulness, interdisciplinarity, and dialogue,” says museum director Ena Heller.

An artist’s rendering of the new Rollins Museum of Art
Photo by Rollins Museum of Art.

The museum has undergone radical growth over the past decade, with yearly attendance more than quadrupling since 2012. During that time, the permanent collection has added approximately 900 works to its archive of more than 5,000 pieces of art. From Thomas Gainsborough and Andy Warhol to some of today’s cutting-edge talent like Julie Mehretu, Shirin Neshat, and Hank Willis Thomas, the museum’s holdings reflect a global, diverse roster with a sizable American collection, a forward-thinking contemporary collection, and the only European Old Master paintings in the Orlando area.

The museum has also seen major gains in student involvement in recent years, with more than 180 class visits per academic year and dozens of student exhibitions, volunteer opportunities, and internships. This increase serves to underscore the museum’s unique teaching mission, which will continue to function as an integral part of fine arts education at Rollins.

The rebranding complements the decision to move the museum to a prime location just one block from Park Avenue and within walking distance from campus, the SunRail train station, and The Alfond Inn. The Rollins Museum of Art will function as a community resource, bolstering Winter Park’s reputation as a hub for arts and culture through community-focused exhibitions and programs year-round. Admission will remain free, making the museum accessible to all members of the community.

“The new Rollins Museum of Art will be a 21st-century engaged hub that engenders multigenerational experiences and expansive partnerships, encourages lifelong learning and enjoyment, and builds community by welcoming all and including different perspectives,” says Heller. “We are confident that we can fulfill this vision in a new facility and in partnership with a wider and more diverse community.”