University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Receives $15 Million Grant

The University of Arkansas has announced a $15 million gift for a new arts facility on its Fort Smith campus.

The grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation in Siloam Springs will support construction of the center, which will house arts-related classrooms and studios currently spread across campus. The grant includes a $2.5 million challenge component to match additional donations.

Currently being designed by WER Architects in Little Rock, the 58,000-square-foot building will also house gallery spaces, the university's letterpress and printmaking operation, graphic design labs, spaces for photography, painting, sculpture, and art history, and the freshmen foundations program — which includes basic courses in drawing, two- and three-dimensional design, typography, and digital imaging. There are roughly a hundred and twenty graphic design majors and fifty studio art majors enrolled at UAFS, and many more students on campus who will be served by the general education courses offered in the new building.

"As a facility designed for the art programs, art students, and majors, the space and equipment will empower students to accomplish significant goals from [freshman year] through graduation," said associate professor Don Lee, director of the university arts department. "There are also galleries and spaces for exhibitions, workshops, and presentations by qualified artists. Th[e] facility will contribute to the status and enrichment of the university and community regarding visual arts and culture...[and] is a major achievement."

"UAFS Plans New Visual Arts Facility." University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Press Release 09/17/2013.