On August 19, The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL hosted its first naturalization ceremony for new American citizens. 74 citizenship candidates from 35 different countries took the Oath of Allegiance in the museum’s Historic Oslo Theater. Ringling Executive Director Stephen High and Sarasota Chamber of Commerce President Steve Queior provided welcome and keynote addresses, respectively.
Most naturalization ceremonies in this area are held in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Tampa field office, according to USCIS spokeswoman Sharon Scheidhauer. Occasionally, ceremonies are held in special venues so more members of the community can participate. The ceremony at the Ringling came about when the USCIS Tampa office director visited the museum in her spare time. “She came back raving about the museum and suggested that it would be a wonderful place to hold a naturalization ceremony,” said Scheidhauer.
“We’re so proud to be a part of this,” said Steven High, Executive Director of The Ringling. “As the State Art Museum of Florida, it struck the hearts of many of our staff here.”
“[The Ringling] was a perfect backdrop for them to become US citizens, with the history and the beauty of the art there,” Scheidhauer said. “Part of becoming a citizen is learning about our country…being able to become an American in a place that embodies part of our history was ideal.”
Image: @TheRingling Coverage of Department of Homeland Security Naturalization Ceremony, 19 August 2013. The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida. Copyright 2013