Stetson, Museum of Art – DeLand Discuss Future

Museum of Art-DeLand, Stetson University

On the heels of celebrating its 65th year as a cultural arts organization, and 25 years in the facility at 600 N. Woodland Blvd., the Museum of Art – DeLand recently had a discussion with Stetson University, a long-time partner who has shared space with the Museum at this location for years. Dialogue resulted in taking steps to assess the value of the building in preparation for potentially selling it to Stetson, and for the Museum to expand its presence in the downtown core proximal to its 100 N. Woodland Blvd. location.

“Stetson University and the Museum of Art – DeLand have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship that extends over decades,” said Bob Huth, CFO and executive vice president. “We look forward to more discussions with the Museum.”

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Stetson University
Currently, Stetson’s Second Stage Theatre leases space in the Museum of Art — DeLand for rehearsal and performances, such as this week’s opening of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Pictured (l to r) are students Alex Schelb and Delaney McGehee. Photo by Ken McCoy.

While the Museum furthers its mission, Stetson’s College of Arts & Sciences is interested in the feasibility of expanding its current interdisciplinary academic use of the Museum’s theater space, which has been leased since 2012. Working parallel toward a similar goal resulted in the procurement of an independent commercial appraiser.

“For several months, our board and staff, led by CEO George Bolge, have examined the prospect of expanding its operations downtown, which would further complement assets of the city and accommodate an ever-increasing audience,” said Museum Board President Judy Thompson, “so working with Stetson at this time is one that makes sense.”

“The opportunity to explore our future viability depends on our willingness to measure our strengths and challenges against the background of our community at large,” said Bolge. “In this way, we can evaluate and apply the knowledge gained to strengthen our future civic collaborations by identifying new sponsors and donors.”

Huth agreed, adding there were several steps to be made on both sides before any conclusions can be reached.

“We recognize there is great benefit to the vitality of the City of DeLand, for residents and visitors alike, to strengthen cultural arts in the heart of downtown by having an established organization like the Museum of Art — DeLand expand its presence and take the lead in developing an arts district,” said City of DeLand Mayor Bob Agpar.

Together with City Manager Michael Pleus, Apgar acknowledged that Bolge and his team were instrumental in further beautifying the downtown crossroads with the opening of the Museum Store in the heart of the city at New York Avenue and Woodland Boulevard in 2014. They know there are several options for this collaborative initiative to take hold and are enthused for the future of the Museum’s endeavors, and for Stetson’s continued growth.