Linda + Dick Dickinson

Portrait of Linda and Dick Dickinson and their two dogs.
Linda and Dick Dickinson. Photo by Matthew Holler ’11

Linda and Dick Dickinson have been pillars of the Sarasota community for decades. After making his mark as a photographer for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times, Dick launched his own independent studio in 1978. Along with his acclaimed commercial work, he also captures award-winning images of nature’s splendor. Linda moved here in 1975, and quickly built up a thriving real estate business. She’s also found a new passion in ceramics, with its vast array of challenges. Together, they’ve created the perfect balance between work, fun, art, home, and community. It’s a storybook life. But their story’s not all about themselves. 

For decades they’ve given back to the community, and Ringling College of Art and Design has been at the top of their giving list. Over the years, Dick has mentored—and hired—the College’s photography students. He has also empowered senior students with financial assistance. Linda became a Ringling College Trustee in 2008. She pours her heart and soul into the College’s work. 

Their support for Ringling College runs deep and crosses different aspects of campus life, scholarships, and programs. They’re also an integral part of the College’s recent transformation of the former Sarasota High School building into the new Sarasota Museum of Art. Along with providing teaching and exhibition space, this cutting-edge, contemporary art museum will be home to the Dick and Linda Dickinson Ceramics Studio. Like the Museum itself, this state-of-the-art facility will be open to the entire community.

Access to art and creativity matters to Linda and Dick. It’s why they support Ringling College. And it’s what gives Sarasota Museum of Art the home team advantage. 

“As President Larry Thompson often points out, Ringling College has never had a football team,” Linda explains. “From his and our perspective, Sarasota Museum of Art will be that football team. It will become a major destination for people from around the country. It will also be a source of inspiration for the people who live here.”

“We’re so happy to work with the Museum’s Executive Director Anne-Marie Russell,” adds Dick. “She thinks both globally and locally—a rare combination.”

Why has Ringling College captured their hearts?

You could say it’s all about the College’s mission. But the Dickinsons wouldn’t say that—it’s far too abstract. They think in human terms. As they see it, the College’s mission boils down to people. And their potential.

“We’re moved by the students, instructors, and staff of the College,” Linda says. “The Ringling College team does a remarkable job of preparing students for the real world—and our tremendously talented graduates have helped put Sarasota on the global map. Their success is truly our success.”

Dick agrees.

“It’s all about investing in the future,” he says. “The students at Ringling College are the best and the brightest. They’re the creators and innovators of tomorrow, and what they learn today makes it possible. By giving to the students, we’re giving to the future—and that’s the wisest investment there is.”

By Su Byron | Photo by Matthew Holler ’11
Su Byron is a poet and freelance writer based in Sarasota.