Architects named for UA art district

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 704 views 

Architects were announced Wednesday (April 25) for expansion of the University of Arkansas School of Art into a designated arts district in south Fayetteville, part of a $40 million gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

Minneapolis-based firm HGA will team with Fort Smith firm MAHG Architecture to develop the Windgate Art and Design District. The firms have worked with the UA before. HGA led renovation of the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center, and MAHG Architecture worked on Bud Walton Arena and the Basketball Performance Center.

The decision, approved by the UA Board of Trustees, was announced Wednesday by Jeannie Hulen, associate dean of fine arts for Fulbright College.

An announcement is also expected soon for the position of director of the school of art. Four candidates were interviewed between March 27 and April 6, as part of a $120 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to position the school of art as a center of excellence in art education, art history, graphic design and studio art curriculum.

UA officials have said they expect the program to become a model for collegiate art education in the nation. The addition of new faculty and development of new degree programs will be phased in over a five-year period.

Within the Windgate Art and Design District, new buildings are planned for art and design classrooms, labs, studios and public gallery space. The location is on Martin Luther King Blvd., between Hill and Government avenues.

Initial design ideas are expected this fall. Construction will likely begin the fall of 2019, with Clark Construction as the manager. The firms will now meet with faculty and staff to discuss space requirements and functional needs. The building designs will be environmentally conscious.

“From the quality of light, to the physical requirements of equipment, the facility will be a functional, safe, studio environment and showcase for the arts,” said Jamie Rojek, HGA vice president.

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