UA Little Rock art students can finally celebrate because the long awaited Windgate Center of Art and Design is officially open.
The UA Little Rock Windgate Center had its official opening at the CRE8 event Friday, Feb. 16, honoring the Windgate Charitable Foundation for the $20.3 million grant for the center to be created. All the university’s art programs are now held in the center.
Affirmative Risk Management presented the event. Proceeds from CRE8 ticket sales and donations from sponsors went towards scholarship funds for the university’s art and design students.
According to College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences event organizer Joseph Lampo, an estimated 350 guests attended the event and $93,000 was raised towards scholarship funds.
At the event guests were given the opportunity to explore the 3-story center, view ongoing art exhibits, attend art lectures, converse with faculty and art students, or watch live art demonstrations that took place throughout the center.
Live demonstrations of arts such as printmaking, blacksmithing, and woodworking were given by students, alumni, and professors of the art program throughout the night.
Sarah Harper, a junior on her way to getting her bachelor’s in art education, gave a live demonstration of the printmaking process to guests. Harper told specifics about the classroom that will be used for printmaking and gave thoughts on the benefits of the new center. While the walks across campus weren’t so much an issue for Harper, the new center makes it easier to start a project and finish it all in one area rather than traveling across campus to access other art facilities that may be needed.
“Having everything together really demonstrates just how multifaceted the visual arts truly are, and it encourages a lot more cooperation,” Harper said.
Visitors were able to view galleries with the ongoing exhibits “Discovering Kate Freeman Clark” and “Building a Collection: Recent Acquisitions Made Possible by the Windgate Charitable Foundation,” a collection that is displayed in the Brad Cushman gallery on the second floor of the center.
UA Little Rock art faculty, students, and alumni were readily available to give tours of the workrooms and galleries and talk to guests about what makes the Windgate Center special.
While the center is dedicated to art, it isn’t just for students in art programs to occupy, according to Department of Art and Design assistant gallery director Nathan Larson.
“One of the things we were telling students is this is a student building. If you wanted to come over here and hangout in the hangout area, reading room, or in the student lounge, you don’t have to be an art student,” Larson said.
According to the CRE8 booklet, the building is designed to have a strong community presence, with access to gallery shows, art festivals, and other events being an important component in the building’s design.
Larson also expressed the excitement that he and co-workers shared about the new center.
“I’m really happy about it, all my coworkers are, because it’s nice to have a space that’s ours,” said Larson.