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The Windgate Charitable Foundation has approved a proposal by Arkansas State University for a $6.7 million grant to build a facility for sculpture and ceramics programs in Jonesboro, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced Thursday.

"We are absolutely delighted to announce this historic gift to Arkansas State University," Damphousse said during an event to unveil the foundation's name on the gallery it recently endowed in the campus' Bradbury Art Museum. "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."

The gift is the largest single gift to the arts in the 109-year history of the university.

It will fund the construction of a facility the university will propose to call the Windgate Center for Three-Dimensional Arts. The proposed name is subject to a formal resolution by the board of trustees, which names all campus buildings.

"We are proud to be partnering with Arkansas State's Department of Art + Design," said Robyn Horn, board chair of the Windgate Foundation, a private grant-making foundation established in 1993 that promotes arts and craft education, among other things. "Their faculty is very engaged and enthusiastic, and we know the students will benefit greatly from this improved facility."

The new building addresses the university's need for studio and exhibition space for sculpture and ceramics, often referenced as the 3-D arts.

"Among the many exciting things about three-dimensional art today are all of the new methods and materials now available," said John J. Salvest, a professor of art at the university. "Our program has long been hampered by a lack of space, which prohibited the introduction of additional techniques and equipment."

The university plans to transfer the current 3-D program to the new facility from its current location in the Fine Arts Annex. Drawing and painting studios will continue to be housed in the Fine Arts Center.

The facility's studio and work areas are anticipated to total about 20,000 square feet, almost four times the space available in the Fine Arts Annex.

The building will include separate large studio classrooms for sculpture and ceramics programs, as well as common woodworking and metal fabrication shops. Also included will be faculty and studio specialist offices, advanced undergraduate studios, and a student exhibition and project gallery dedicated to three-dimensional art. A partially-covered shared exterior yard will be adjacent to the classrooms.

Temma Balducci, chair of ASU's Department of Art + Design, said the gift provides the potential for increased enrollment in 3-D courses as well as improved community outreach and involvement.

"This generous gift from the Windgate Foundation for a state-of-the-art center for ceramics and sculpture will allow the department to introduce more students and the community to the three-dimensional arts," Balducci said. "It's an exciting time for us, and we are thrilled about the possibilities, especially for outreach and recruiting."

State Desk on 09/21/2018

Print Headline: Windgate Foundation grants $6.7M for new ASU art facility

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