The University of Central Arkansas on Tuesday (Jan. 22) announced it has received a $20 million gift from the Little Rock-based Windgate Foundation for a state-of-the-art Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts.
Announced at the campus’ McCastlain Hall Ballroom, UCA President Houston Davis called the gift, the largest in UCA’s 111-year history, “historic” and “transformational.”
Plans for the 114,000-square-foot performing arts center include 44,000 square feet of art space; an exterior space for three-dimensional art; a community art gallery; a 450-seat concert hall designed for orchestra, choir, band and ensemble performances; and a proscenium theatre that will allow for a wide range of theatrical performances, including musical theater and opera.
The facility will also add class, studio, rehearsal and design space, which will increase program capacity and allow more students to pursue fine or performing arts degrees. It will also foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the visual arts, theatre and music.
“The Department of Art was one of the original eight departments when UCA was established in 1907, and it remains a high priority for us as we look to the future,” said UCA President Houston Davis. “Today, more than 250 students major or minor in art, and another 750 major in the other fine arts and communication areas.”
“This gift will allow us to fulfill the facilities and scholarship needs that are worthy of our outstanding faculty and students. We will be able to help more students earn degrees in art and related disciplines, while also graduating a workforce of creative problem solvers, critical thinkers, and independent learners,” Davis added. “We thank Windgate Foundation for their partnership and incredible show of confidence in UCA’s vision for the arts.”
The Windgate Foundation is a private grant-making organization founded in 1993. In recent months, it has publicly funded projects in Fort Smith, Conway, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Siloam Springs. To date, the Windgate Foundation has provided over $751 million in grants.
“Windgate Foundation has supported visual arts, contemporary craft and art education programs in the United States for 25 years,” said Patricia Forgy, executive director of Windgate Foundation. “For almost 20 years, we have proudly partnered with UCA and are delighted to continue our support for their new Fine and Performing Arts Center. The faculty and administration are supportive and enthusiastic, and we know this improved facility will be a great benefit for the students.”