The University of Central Arkansas received a $20 million donation from the Windgate Foundation for a new fine and performing arts center. UCA Director of Media Relations Amanda Hoelzeman said this donation was the largest gift in UCA’s history.
The new building will house the visual arts, music and theatre departments to encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary studies. Hoelzeman said the 114,000-square-foot center will increase the class, studio and rehearsal space. The new space will also include a concert hall, proscenium theatre, art gallery, exterior display space and 44,000-square-feet of art space.
“This new project is much more than a building,” UCA President Houston Davis said. “It is a necessary and pivotal step in our ongoing efforts to transform lives and make an impact in Arkansas and beyond.”
According to Hoelzeman, construction will cost $45 million, UCA hopes to cover the remainder through donations and other funds. The building will be completed in 2022, and will be located at the corner of Donaghey Ave. and Bruce St. in Conway. It will “serve as an artistic cornerstone of campus” and will suit the needs of UCA’s faculty and students. Around 1,000 students major or minor in art and the fine arts and communication areas, and Hoelzeman said for the last decade, enrollment for the programs has reached capacity. The new facility will allow for an increase in program capacity.
According to the Windgate Foundation website, their mission is to support visual arts in the community.
“Windgate Foundation believes supporting these types of programs are vital not only to a student’s education but also in the way it connects them more deeply to the world and opens them to new ways of seeing,” Windgate Foundation Executive Director Patricia Forgy said. “Students learn valuable skills, such as critical thinking, self-expression and collaboration. Additionally, the entire community benefits from the positive impact of the arts, which promotes cultural diversity and builds community cohesion.”