The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received more than $3 million in grants from the Windgate Foundation to support art education, acquisition of art from working artists for UALR’s permanent art collection, and support of UA Little Rock Children International’s education and outreach programs.
“These three grants from the Windgate Foundation will go a long way to support art education and outreach programs in our community,” said Chancellor Christina Drale. “We are thankful to the Windgate Foundation for their continued dedication to artists, art educators, and students across the state.”
Windgate’s first grant will provide $1.56 million for UA Little Rock Children International, which serves approximately 2,100 children and youth in central Arkansas. The first $1.5 million will create an endowed fund to cover operational expenses. Children International will receive $60,000 as a bridge grant to use in the next year. Now in its 27th year, UA Little Rock Children International offers a variety of school- and community-based programs, including after-school and summer programming, cooking classes, emergency food assistance, and college preparation and career training.
“We are impressed by the efforts of the hard-working staff of Children International to provide education and outreach activities for children in the Little Rock School District,” said Pat Forgy, executive director of the Windgate Foundation. “I’d encourage others to consider supporting their work to help children become healthy, educated, and self-reliant. There is so much more Children International could accomplish with additional help from the community.”
The second grant provides $1 million to create an endowed art acquisition fund. The funding will be divided equally, with $500,000 going to acquire contemporary craft art from living artists and the other $500,000 to acquire art from living artists. With this grant, UA Little Rock will acquire more art for the university’s permanent art collection, which holds over 1,700 items, and provide a broader range of exhibits for the UA Little Rock Gallery Program.
“The Windgate Foundation has been a champion of the gallery program for 10 years,” said Brad Cushman, director of the UA Little Rock Gallery Program. “Their financial support of exhibition programming and acquisitions began in 2011. The Windgate Foundation has granted acquisition funding to major museums and art institutions across the country. They have certainly put the UA Little Rock Gallery Program and Permanent Collection in prestigious company.”
Additionally, Windgate has awarded UA Little Rock a multi-year additional support grant for the UA Little Rock Art Outreach Program. Windgate originally awarded UA Little Rock a grant of more than $750,000 in November 2018 to establish a series of educational art workshops for Arkansas high school students and art teachers.
The additional $470,713 grant will continue to support art education outreach efforts for high school students and art teachers in Arkansas through December 2024. The final payment for 2023 is contingent upon an increase of students in UA Little Rock’s Art and Design Department.
UA Little Rock was unable to hold the high school student visits and workshops for K-12 art educators during summer 2020 due to the pandemic. With social distancing procedures in place, the Department of Art and Design continued programming this summer with seven week-long workshops for art educators from across the state.
In summer 2022, UA Little Rock plans to offer two camps for art educators and one camp for highly motivated high school students who are considering majoring in the visual arts. The workshops are free to high school students and art teachers. The Windgate grant will cover on-campus housing, meals, supplies, and instructional materials.