The Windgate Foundation has made a high-impact gift of more than $3 million to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that will help educate generations of future artists.
“The generous gift by the Windgate Foundation for the creation of a building maintenance endowment for the Windgate Center could not have come at a better time,” said UA Little Rock Chancellor Christina Drale. “The upkeep of facilities and grounds across the campus is of critical significance to the university’s capability to fulfill its mission and provide a transformational educational experience for our students.”
The gift will be used to establish a maintenance endowment fund for the Windgate Center of Art and Design. The endowment will finance long-term major capital renewal and maintenance projects for the Windgate Center. In addition to the endowed fund, the foundation gave a gift of $42,020 to be used this year for immediate maintenance needs.
“Nobody wants to learn or work in a place that is not properly maintained, and it makes sense to support the Center of Art + Design building into the future,” said Patricia Forgy, executive director of the Windgate Foundation. “This attention to infrastructure by UA Little Rock leadership will benefit both students and our community by providing a well-kept and welcoming place for learning and collaboration.”
The Windgate Center opened for instruction and student use in January 2018. It is a state-of-the art facility for instruction in the visual arts. The center was uniquely designed for the purpose of teaching specific media in its classrooms and studios. Well-placed windows throughout the building are a central feature, which allow desired natural light into the studios. Their regular cleaning and maintenance is a necessary upkeep expense that helps provide students, faculty, and members of the public with an ideal space to create and teach art.
“The Department of Art and Design is thankful for our decades-long partnership with the Windgate Foundation, helping to educate the next generation of artists,” said Thomas Clifton, chair of the Department of Art and Design. “This gift makes it possible for us to maintain our state-of-the-art facility so that we can continue to provide the highest caliber art education to our students and high-quality programs to the local community.”
Two galleries in the Windgate Center provide spaces for showing the university’s permanent art collection, recent student and faculty artwork, and exhibitions borrowed from other institutions. The galleries have handsome hardwood floors that show the university is committed to the care and development of the art collection and to maintaining a schedule of exhibitions that provide learning experiences for art and design students and aesthetic experiences for the public.
The maintenance of these galleries, their floors, and other features is critical to that commitment. The Windgate Center of Art and Design Building Maintenance Endowment can cover these and future maintenance expenses, such as repairs and eventual replacement of the Windgate Center’s parking lot and roof.
With building maintenance costs on the rise and tighter operating budgets, university administrators recognize the importance of finding ways to fund regular maintenance and capital renewal needs. Creating endowed maintenance funds for the sustainability of campus buildings is one of five fundraising priorities established by Chancellor Drale.
“The Windgate Foundation’s magnanimous gift not only helps the university achieve one of its priorities, but also serves as an excellent example for other generous donors as we embark on the path to achieving all five of these priorities,” said Chancellor Drale.