New Art Facilities, Scholarships Take Shape

As construction of UA Little Rock’s new Windgate Center of Art + Design proceeds on schedule, new scholarship fundraising has given art students another reason to anticipate the center’s completion. In response to a $20.3 million gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, UA Little Rock’s Office of Alumni and Development began a $3 million fundraising campaign for art and design students to accompany the new space.

“It’s due time for an upgrade,” junior Studio Art major Gege Zhang said. “The funding for the arts have always been a little lacking, so it’s great that we’re finally getting a new building and more scholarship money.”

As funds continue to be raised for art education, the dream of a new state-of-the-art facility is about to come true for art students.

“It’s a new building designed to house all of the departments scattered across campus right now,” said Eric Fritschie, Assistant Director of Planning & Capital Construction for UA Little Rock. “It’s a mix of industrial space in one part of the building and a conventional building in another.”

The new building will house all art and applied design programs, with 65,000 square feet of space to encompass a wide variety of uses from blacksmithing to printmaking. Facilities for applied arts as well as art history and education will be available to students upon the building’s completion.

“The current facilities right now are okay, they’re just a little outdated,” Zhang said. “It’s been the exact same ever since I stepped foot inside the building.”

For students, the new facility will offer not only better equipment and more space but also a welcome respite from walking across campus.

“The classes are scattered all across campus since the fine arts building right now can’t accommodate them all, so it is going to be nice when the building is finished,” Zhang said.

While students eagerly await the grand opening, Fritschie says construction crews continue to work hard to ensure an on-time completion.

“We’re on track. The contractor will be complete in November of this year,” Fritschie said. “The new building will be open for classes in spring 2018.”

More information on the project can be found at http://ualr.edu/news/tag/windgate-center-of-art-and-design/

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