The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts preserves and displays an international collection of textiles through rotating public exhibitions and educational programs. Highlighting the collection are traditional handmade textiles, embroidery, garments and related accessories from Africa, Japan, India and Central Asia; European and North American embroidery and samplers from the 16th through the 20th centuries; and contemporary wearable art and fiber arts.
Florida Tech’s Ruth Funk Center is the only textiles center in the state and one of very few in the nation. The two-story center features 3,000 square feet of exhibition space, 1,150 square feet of collections storage and work space, 700 square feet for a mezzanine library and 600 square feet for a lobby and grand stairway.
Our generous benefactor, Ruth E. Funk, has enriched the university through her vision and philanthropy. In addition to her financial support that has helped make this space possible, she has given Florida Tech hundreds of books and a lifelong collection of textiles and wearable art.
The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts developed as a concept from shared goals between one donor, Ruth E. Funk, and University President, Dr. Anthony J. Catanese. After participating in Florida Tech’s “Dreamweavers” textiles exhibit and gala event in 2003, Mrs. Funk became interested in donating her own collection of international textiles to the University, along with a monetary donation to establish an endowment for lectures on the textile arts and a pledge of $1 million for a building to house and exhibit the textiles collection.
The community response to this new Textile Arts initiative by the University was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. As momentum grew, the Office for Advancement worked to plan future programs. Mrs. Funk donated her extensive collection of books and journals to the campus Evans Library and she also donated hundreds of textiles, costumes and related cultural artifacts to the University. Advancement staff worked to properly store and catalog the collection, while also planning complimentary programs and exhibitions for the public.
In the fall of 2006, the Funk Textiles Gallery opened in the Crawford Building with the mission of highlighting objects from the collection and offering free exhibits for the campus and surrounding community. At the opening of the Funk Textiles Gallery in October of 2006, President Catanese announced Mrs. Funk’s gift towards a free-standing campus textiles center. With that gift, plans for the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts began.
The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts opened its doors with a Dedication Ceremony on August 29, 2009.