by Rob Keys
Posted 9/5/2012 03:07 pm
Updated 9 months ago
Jim and Joyce Faulkner of Little Rock have made a $6 million gift in support of a proposed performing arts center on the University of Arkansas campus, it was announced Wednesday.
The center would be located in the Old Field House on Garland Avenue. It's being touted as a "state-of-the-art venue for exhibiting the musical and theatrical talents of students and faculty at the University of Arkansas," according to a school-issued news release.
The center, awaiting formal approval from the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees, is planned to offer seating for more than 650.
Musical groups that would perform in the new facility include the UA's symphony orchestra, concert band and concert choir, among others. Various theatrical performances also would be staged at the center, which also would provide space for public lectures.
On-campus musical performances currently are hosted in the 238-seat Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, while theatrical productions are staged in the 250-seat University Theater, according to the release.
"When almost every institution of higher education and many high schools have performance venues offering more capabilities than these, it is obvious that improvement is needed if the university hopes to continue competing for top-flight fine arts students and faculty," UA chancellor G. David Gearhart said in the release.
"In addition, we have submitted a proposal to the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission requesting financial support. We believe its investment in this project is consistent with the commission's mission: to promote Fayetteville's cultural, recreational and economic vibrancy. This project is a win-win for both the city and the university."
Also according to the release, the Faulkners are long-time supporters of the university. In 2011, they led the effort to purchase new uniforms for the Razorback Band by offering to match others' gifts. They've also funded Chancellor's Scholarships in several fields of study and were involved in the restoration of Old Main.