$ 30 million in support of Windgate helps expand University of America arts and design district

Submitted photo FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With an additional $ 30 million partial challenge grant from the Windgate Foundation, the U of A will soon be able to further expand its Windgate Art and Design District

Submitted photo

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With an additional $ 30 million partial challenge grant from the Windgate Foundation, the U of A will soon be able to further expand its Windgate Art and Design District to create more community space and bring art together , design and education in Northwest Arkansas.

Located in the heart of South Fayetteville, the Windgate Art and Design District is already on its way to becoming a hub for artists and designers students and teachers from U of A and beyond.

This latest investment and neighborhood expansion builds on the previous transformational donation of $ 40 million the foundation made to State University to create the Windgate Art and Design District in 2017, which also established the site of the Windgate Studio and Design Center in the district. The center will open to the public in fall 2022 and is Phase I of the Windgate Art and Design District’s overall project.

The new $ 30 million partial challenge grant is for Phase II of the district project and consists of $ 30 million provided by the Windgate Foundation that will be available when the U of A raises a minimum of $ 7 million. dollars in matching funds. The university’s goal is to raise more than $ 15 million in eligible donations and pledges.

“This is a truly exceptional investment in the arts in Arkansas, and we are very honored and grateful that the Windgate Foundation has created such a wonderful space for our community and our school,” said Todd Shields, Dean of Fulbright College of the U of A. Arts and Sciences, which houses the School of Fine Arts. “Their continued support has been nothing short of amazing, and it is because of people like them, and our incredible partners across the community, that our state is on track to become a world leader in the arts.”

Shields added that as a land granting institution, it is imperative that the U of A serve the community through the arts.

“We need to ensure that our graduates will be creative thinkers, leaders and problem solvers who will be an innovative and driving force in our state economy through their art and design,” he said. “The Windgate Foundation’s long-standing relationship with the U of A ensures that this vision will become our reality. “

Patricia M. Forgy, Executive Director of the Windgate Foundation, said she and the foundation’s board members are happy to continue to be part of the growth of the school and the district.

“We are proud to join the University of Arkansas Art School in its next steps to expand the Windgate Art and Design District,” said Forgy. “At this exciting time, we are coming full circle in partnering with the art school. Open communications, collaboration, leadership, community engagement and the school’s commitment to arts education are in focus. basis of our continued bond and support. It is an exciting time to be an art student at U of A. “

The Windgate Foundation has a long history of supporting art not only in Arkansas, but also in universities and the arts community across the country. At U of A alone, the foundation has already provided crucial funding that has enabled faculty to expand programs, improve teaching techniques, fund student travel, improve technologies, purchase new equipment and build the school’s sculpture facility.

In addition to a $ 120 million donation from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, the remarkable continued support of the Windgate Foundation also helped the former arts department grow, eventually becoming the art school in August 2017.

While visual arts education has been a part of the U of A curriculum since its founding 150 years ago, the School of Art has become and remains the first and only accredited college art school in the state of Arkansas.

Since its inception less than five years ago, the School of Art has already experienced significant growth in all fields – growing from 300 to 500 students on average, from 36 to 55 full-time professors and being able to offer a number unprecedented 415 scholarships amounting to more than $ 990,000.

“Due to such growth, the School of Art has spread over 12 different locations on and around the U of A campus and the community of Fayetteville,” said Jeannie Hulen, Associate Dean of Fulbright College . “Ultimately, to give our students the best, most collaborative and effective education, the School of Art must have all of its programs, studios, laboratories, faculty spaces and student spaces brought together as closely as possible and at the same time. closer to the community. ”

Due to the Windgate Foundation’s additional investment in the School of Art, two designated areas – the Windgate Art and Design District and the Fine Arts Center Building on the U of A campus – will house the school and its community. .

“We are incredibly grateful to the Windgate Foundation for making this possible, and we are very excited for the future of the school and all those whose lives will have an impact,” she said.

School of Art principal Marty Maxwell Lane echoed Hulen’s sentiments.

“Ideas that might not be possible elsewhere are possible here,” she added. “Art school leaders and amazing teachers recognize this rarity and cherish the opportunity to come together. The vibrant energy of a coming together community will catapult creativity and engagement. “

Gerry Snyder, executive director of the School of Art, said that when Phase I of the Windgate Studio and Design Center opens in fall 2022, it will anchor the neighborhood and house the areas of the ceramic studio art program, drawing , painting, photography, printmaking and their studios MFA and BFA, as well as the graphic design program and their new graduate M.DES. degree. In addition, the building will include a design clinic that will collaborate with community partners, a printing lab and a coffee bar to serve students, faculty and the community.

Snyder added that this new 58,000 square foot Windgate Gallery and Foundations building will complete the Windgate Art and Design District and house the school’s public galleries, the Foundation program, the Idea Fabrication Lab, the Arts & Entrepreneurship workshop, a auditorium with 250 seats and teachers and visitors to artists’ workshops. This Phase II building will be located next to the new Windgate Studio and Design Center and Sculpture, providing students with state-of-the-art facilities in a central location.

“The generosity of the Windgate Foundation is deeply appreciated throughout our school, campus and community,” said Snyder. “The center and this future expansion are landmark achievements that position the School of Art as a leader in arts education and a destination of excellence. ”

Additionally, the Fine Arts Center building, originally completed in 1951 and designed by Edward Durrell Stone, is also undergoing restoration and will house both art history and art education programs, enabling each discipline to develop by adding a master’s and a doctorate. option. The Palace of Fine Arts is located near the center of the campus and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Acting Chancellor Charles Robinson said the new facilities and improvements will also allow the University of America School of Art and its Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design to work more closely together, as The Fay Jones school is also partially located in the Windgate Art. and the design district.

“This will bring a whole new level of collaboration, interdisciplinary work and innovation for University of A and our surrounding community,” said Robinson. “These facilities will function as a catalyst for partnerships with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and other organizations to develop and empower the art and design community at all levels. It will have a resounding positive impact on our university, our community, our state and beyond. “

For more information on the Windgate Art and Design District or the School of Art, please visit art.uark.edu.

To participate in the Partial Challenge Grant, please contact Melody Kouchehbagh at [email protected]

About the Windgate Foundation: Windgate Foundation is a private grant-making foundation established by a family in Arkansas in 1993. One of its primary goals is to fund important educational programs in the visual arts, as well as to provide funding to educational institutions. primary and higher education to develop and support the arts, scholarships and effective educational programs.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in over 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes to more than $ 2.2 billion for the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the top 3% of US colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. American News and World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. Find out how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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