The College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State University has announced a $6 million gift from alumnus and entertainment industry leader Lawrence Barnett to establish the multidisciplinary Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2013, the center will be housed in the newly renovated Sullivant Hall and will include the Barnett Conference Room and Barnett Theatre. In addition to gallery spaces for student exhibitions, a state-of-the-art performance space, collaborative research facilities, and quarters for guest artists and scholars, the hall will include the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Dance, and the Department of Art Education and Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD).
Barnett, who attended Ohio State in the 1930s, has served as president of Music Corporation of America, chairman and president of General Artists Corporation, executive vice president of Chris-Craft Industries, and vice chairman and director of United Television. He and his late wife, actress Isabel Bigley, supported the university for many years. In 1993, Isabel Bigley donated her extensive collection of theater memorabilia to the university's Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute.
"The arts and artists have always been so important to my wife, Isabel, and me," said Barnett. "Getting my degree from Ohio State was a key to my success, and it is particularly meaningful to help today's students develop into professional artists as well as businesspeople in the arts. We are so proud of the meaningful careers our graduates have established. It's an honor to broaden our involvement and hope that many more people will decide to support the arts."