Mennello Museum founder and Orlando philanthropist Michael Mennello dies from COVID-related illness

click to enlarge Michael A. Mennello - Photo courtesy Mennello Museum of American Art
Photo courtesy Mennello Museum of American Art
Michael A. Mennello
The founder of Orlando's Mennello Museum of American Art, Michael A. Mennello, passed away over the weekend due to complications from a COVID-19-related sickness.

Businessman and philanthropist Mennello, 87, co-founded the Loch Haven cultural institution and museum with his wife, Marilyn, in 1998.

The seed of the museum's collection was 35 paintings by folk artist Earl Cunningham that the Mennellos donated to the City of Orlando from their personal collection. And in 2018, Mennello donated a gift of 14 paintings and five sculptures at an appraised value of $8.75 million dollars, and established the Michael A. and the Honorable Marilyn Logsdon Mennello Foundation to expand the building and bolster programs at the museum.

"Orlando would not be the cultural city it is today without Michael’s influence, enthusiasm and investment in the arts," said Mayor Buddy Dyer in a press statement. "He has left a lasting legacy with his devotion and passion for generations to come and made our community a more diverse and creative place to live.”

"As we mourn the untimely loss of our Founder, Michael A. Mennello, we remain committed to sharing his and Marilyn's love of art through the stewardship of their outstanding American Art collection and the many gifts they generously gave to our community," said Shannon Fitzgerald, executive director of the museum. "Michael envisioned a bright future for the museum and we have important work to continue in honoring that legacy."

The Mennello family asks that, in lieu of flowers, well-wishers please donate to the Friends of the Mennello Museum's Building Our Future campaign.

The Mennello Museum is currently open to the public, if you want to take in the art that Mennello loved in life.

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