A new era in the visual arts at Millsaps College officially began today with the dedication of the Windgate Visual Arts Center, a facility designed to expand and enhance studio art and art history offerings for students at the College. Donors and community leaders joined Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps, and art faculty to celebrate the building.
A $2.5 million challenge grant from the Arkansas-based Windgate Foundation was the initial driving force behind the building. A major gift from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust (for the William R. Kenan, Jr. Lobby) helped spur additional gifts from individual donors, including Maurice and Cathy Hall (The Hall Gallery) and Michael McRee (The Michael T. McRee Wing for Studio Arts).
“The support of these incredibly generous donors, combined with other gifts from people who care deeply for Millsaps and for the arts, has resulted in this exciting day in the history of this College,” said Pearigen. “We are grateful for their belief in, and backing of, the value of the arts and what it means as part of a student’s educational experience.”
Construction on the 17,300 square foot building began in November 2017. The Visual Arts Center is located on the west side of the Millsaps campus, a location chosen in part because it re-opens access to the campus from West Street. A new entrance on Wesley Avenue offers students and visitors alike an easier way to enter the campus, and recognizes the history found to the west of campus.
“The Windgate Visual Arts Center offers our students the finest studios for everything from woodworking to painting to digital art, and it offers our community a new venue for partnerships that can strengthen the arts beyond our campus,” Pearigen said. “It is literally a blank canvas on which we will create a beautiful future for our students and Jackson for years to come.”