Arkansas State Gets $6.7M Windgate Grant For Arts Building

Arkansas State Gets $6.7M Windgate Grant For Arts Building
Rendering of the planned Windgate Center for Three-Dimensional Arts (Arkansas State University)

The Windgate Foundation of Little Rock has awarded a $6.7 million grant to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for a new sculpture and ceramics program building. It is the largest single gift to the arts in the university’s 109-year history.

Foundation officials were on campus Thursday to unveil the the nonprofit’s name on a gallery in the Bradbury Art Museum, a gallery it recently endowed. The grant is also one of the largest single gifts to an academic program in the university’s history and the second largest private commitment ever recorded toward construction of a new academic building.

The building will be called the “Windgate Center for Three-Dimensional Arts," though that is pending a formal resolution being approved by A-State’s Board of Trustees.

It is expected to be approximately 20,000 SF, almost four times larger than the space the programs have in the Fine Arts Annex.

The building will include separate, large studio classrooms; common woodworking and metal fabrication shops; faculty and studio specialist offices; advanced undergraduate studios; a student exhibition and project gallery dedicated to three-dimensional art; and a partially-covered, shared, exterior yard that will be adjacent to the classrooms. It will be the first time that exhibition galleries and private studios for sculpture and ceramics students will be available.

The university plans to transfer the 3-D program to the new facility from its current location in the Fine Arts Annex, a 1936 building that once housed the university's print shop and classrooms before ceramics and sculpture moved there in the 1980s. Drawing and painting studios will continue to be housed in the Fine Arts Center.

"We are absolutely delighted to announce this historic gift to Arkansas State University," Damphousse said in a news release. "Windgate Foundation has a long record of generous support for the arts in Arkansas, and this gift dramatically raises their commitment to a new level at A-State."

Sculptor John Salvest, professor of art in the Department of Art & Design, and Les Christensen, director of Bradbury Art Museum, submitted the grant proposal.

Salvest said in the release, "Our program has long been hampered by a lack of space, which prohibited the introduction of additional techniques and equipment. With the four- to five-fold increase in square footage in the new building, ceramics professor Bill Rowe and I will be able to expand the range of materials and processes we offer in our classes."

He also said the facility would help recruit and retain students. Christensen added that it will help with outreach to area junior and senior high students who may only experience 2-D media in K-12 art classes.

Windgate Board Chair Robyn Horn said in the release, "We are proud to be partnering with Arkansas State's Department of Art & Design. Their faculty is very engaged and enthusiastic, and we know the students will benefit greatly from this improved facility."

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