By ADAM LOWENSTEIN, FIT News Bureau
Bob and Jan Case have established the Bob & Jan Case Endowment for Student Enrichment to support and advance arts education for youth through Florida Institute of Technology’s Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts.
“Bob and I are thrilled to be able to help facilitate and encourage youth to experience the joy of art and creativity by supporting the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts,” Jan Case said.
Growing up in Orlando, Jan has vivid memories of her public school field trips. She fondly recalls getting a sneak peek at an upcoming exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art and backstage tours at the Orlando Symphony Orchestra. Jan calls herself “a great appreciator of art,” and she dabbles in knitting, crochet and sewing.
She and Bob raised their son in the same manner, taking him to museums, art shows, concerts and more.
Bob’s work was taking him back and forth from Orlando to Melbourne, and this is when the couple became familiar with Florida Tech’s Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. They began sponsoring traveling exhibits as well as a youth education program where students from nearby University Park Elementary School visited the Center.
Five years ago, Jan decided to become a docent at the Center. She attended the eight-week training program where artists, curators, collection managers and others addressed the group. One artist who stood out was the American Art quilter Yvonne Porcella, who was known for her exceptional skill and deep palette. In her remarks to the docents, Yvonne revealed that she had four children, was married to a busy medical doctor and that she was a trained surgical nurse.
Jan remembers being surprised. “You are an artist,” she thought. “It would be impossible to have a real life, too.”
Jan recalls the time the University Park 4th, 5th and 6th graders took a field trip to the Center and she wondered if they realized they could be artists. This is when it dawned on her that she’d come full circle from the day she’d met Porcella, realizing anyone can be an artist, even the busiest person.
Jan is now Docent Chair and serves on the Textile Advisory Committee. She and her husband’s passion is making sure all children are engaged with art. The Ruth Funk Center continues their partnership with University Park Elementary School.
“The Bob & Jan Case Endowment for Student Enrichment will have a tremendous impact on the level of the Center’s youth engagement,” said Keidra Navaroli, assistant director and curator at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. “Their past support has been the critical foundation in building a consistent and impactful arts education program for the children we serve.”
Next up at the Center is Coded Couture, organized by Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Opening Jan. 27, the exhibition has been traveling nationally to great reviews since its New York City premiere in January 2016. The exhibition features garments, jewelry and shoes fitted with technologies such as speech recognition sensors and heartbeat monitors, and created with methods ranging from 3D printing to hand-embroidery.
The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts is on the campus of Florida Tech, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. Call 321-674-8313 or visit their website.