Windgate Art and Design Center celebrates milestone with closing ceremony

Studio Novo

The final beam of the Windgate Art and Design Center, signed and ready to install.

The U of A School of Art recently hosted a closing ceremony for the new Windgate Art and Design Center, celebrating the last steel beam placed in the state-of-the-art 154,000 square foot building.

This milestone in the construction process signals the incredible progress and expansion of the Windgate Art and Design District located in the heart of South Fayetteville.

“It is wonderful to celebrate the placement of the last steel beam in the new Windgate Art and Design Center,” said Acting Chancellor Charles F. Robinson. “This center will create more space for interdisciplinary innovation and collaboration among our students, staff and faculty. Our community and the state as a whole will benefit from the exciting advancements in arts education at the U of A. ”

Before placing the last steel beam, students, faculty, staff and the community were invited to sign the beam commemorating this special moment in the school’s history.

On the day of the ceremony, attendees were able to see the signatures of future artists, designers and scholars, university and community leaders and leaders of art schools, faculty and staff from all sides.

Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College of Arts and Science, which is home to the School of Art, said the signature of the beam was incredibly significant.

“It was an honor for me to be one of the people who signed the last steel beam before it was officially placed,” he said. “This closing ceremony brings us very close to being able to move into this beautiful place where all will belong, create and prosper.”

After remarks from Robinson and Jeannie Hulen, Associate Dean of Fine Arts at Fulbright College, the closing ceremony came to an end when the last signed beam was lifted into the sky and secured to the fourth floor of the new building.

“It will be a beautiful installation – but also a lot more,” said Hulen. “It will be a home for our students, a home for the School of Art and a home for our community. And it will be a vibrant center where teaching, research and outreach intersect in a way that will benefit our students, the community and beyond. for years to come. “

The new Windgate Art and Design Center comes to life thanks to the Windgate Charitable Support Foundation. In 2017, the School of Art received a transformational donation of $ 40 million from the foundation that created the Windgate Art and Design District bringing together art, design and education.

“We can now see all of the ‘bones’ of the new building with the last signed beam lifted,” said Patricia Forgy, executive director of the Windgate Foundation. “Before we know it, we’ll be celebrating the completion of this stunning installation, which will be guided by dedicated and enthusiastic leaders, faculty and staff of the School of Art, propelled by creative thinkers and solvers of innovative problems, and shared with the whole community. “

The Windgate Art and Design Center will be open to the community and begin classes in Spring 2023.

The center will house the areas of the Studio Art Program in Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and their MFA and BFA studios, as well as the Graphic Design Program and their new graduate M.Des. degree. Additionally, the building will include a design clinic that will collaborate with community partners, a printing lab, and a coffee bar to serve students, faculty, and the community.

“We look forward to inviting everyone to this space soon,” said Gerry Snyder, Executive Director of the School of Art. “Building a state-of-the-art 154,000 square foot building is an extraordinary task; taking a moment to celebrate milestones like this reminds us of how far we’ve come and the incredible opportunities we create for students, faculty and the community. “

Snyder also added his deep appreciation for the Windgate Foundation.

“Through their generosity and continued support, they are transforming arts education in Arkansas and positioning the School of Art as a leader and destination for the study of art.”

Earlier this year, the Windgate Foundation awarded an additional $ 30 million partial challenge grant to the School of Art to support Phase II of the Arts and Design District.

Phase II will complete the Windgate Art and Design District with a new 58,000 square foot Windgate Gallery and a new foundation building. The building will be located next to the new Windgate Studio and Design Center and Sculpture Facility, providing students with state-of-the-art facilities in a central location.

It will house the school’s public galleries, the foundation’s program, the manufacturing ideas lab, the art and entrepreneurship workshop, a 250-seat auditorium, professors and guest artist studios. .

“We cannot thank the Windgate Foundation enough for their incredible and continued support,” said Hulen. “The Closing Ceremony was a great day to celebrate all of the work being done at the Windgate Art and Design Center and the bright future of the arts in Arkansas.”

A video of the closing ceremony is available online.

For more information on the Windgate Art and Design District or the art school, please visit

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