Art museum closes doors, transfers collections
By Fred Mays
It has been a prolonged process, but the Foosaner Art
Museum in the Eau Gallie art district of Melbourne
closed at the end of July. It took more than a year to
finalize the closing of the museum, which was sold by
Florida Institute of Technology to Orlando developer
Northboro Builders Inc.
The museum had more than 5,000 items in its
permanent collection. Nearly all were transferred to
the Appleton Museum at the College of Central Florida in Ocala.
Appleton has confirmed it has received the collection, but is
withholding comment until it is ready to put it on display.
The only remaining loose end is the fate of two large pieces of art
on the outside walls of the museum. One is a behemoth two-story
tall steel object by artist Frits Van Eeden. The other is Hot Rods
by artist George Snyder. Both are attached to the exterior of the
museum, and will be expensive to relocate, requiring cranes and
oversized load trucks. Museum director Ashley Milliken says the
museum is working with FIT on plans to remove the pieces and
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FOOSANER ART MUSEUM
Most of the museum’s permanent collection has been transferred to the Appleton Museum
at the College of Central Florida in Ocala.
NORTHBORO BUILDERS INC.
Northboro Builders Inc. of Orlando plans to demolish the Foosaner Art
Museum and build a hotel and parking garage once the two large pieces
of art on the front of the building have been relocated.
Northboro developers plan to demolish the
building and erect a hotel and parking garage.
Foosaner has been around since 1978, and
was purchased by FIT 10 years ago. While the
museum had a loyal following in the Melbourne
community, it was never profitable. Facing
financial restraints FIT decided over a year ago to
close the museum and sell the property.
The museum’s permanent collection included
works by German painter Ernest Oppler and the
Enrique Conill Mendoza Collection of American
Industrial Design. Contemporary artists included
Van Eeden, Snyder and renowned Florida
photographer Clyde Butcher.
The Ruth Funk textile art collection, which was
housed at FIT, was recently closed and is part of
the transfer to Appleton. There was a collection of
NASA art and photographs from the moon landing
era that did not go to Appleton, and will instead be
housed on the FIT campus.