The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith received a donation of nearly $ 8 million from the Windgate Foundation for scholarships and internships, an artist-in-residence program, and ongoing funding for facilities at art and design of the university.
“This donation will expand (our students’) access to professional and creative communities, and it’s an absolute dream to have the chance to create new ways to support them. Our students do amazing things and often do it while handling a lot of responsibilities. The direct positive impact this gift will have on them is profound, ”said Katie Waugh, Head of the Artistic Department at UAFS.
The donation includes more than $ 4 million in direct support to students through a needs-based scholarship, $ 394,000 for the development and expansion of university programs; $ 240,000 to develop an artist-in-residence program; and $ 120,000 to fund paid internships for emerging artist and designer students.
The $ 4 million for scholarships will be available to any UAFS student at any college and in good standing who is eligible to receive Pell Grants and who does not receive any other form of free aid (Additional Grants for Educational Opportunities, Arkansas Challenge scholarships, etc.). will be able to attend college at little or no cost, according to a press release on the giveaway.
“The tuition and compulsory fees for a full-time student at UAFS is $ 7,335 per year, with the Pell Grants covering approximately $ 6,100 of that cost. With the Windgate donation, the university will be able to provide the remaining $ 1,235 to eligible students, which will bring the cost of their tuition and mandatory fees down to $ 0, ”the press release said.
If a student receives assistance from an external organization, they will still be eligible for the scholarship.
“This is a great opportunity to bring college education within the reach of so many UAFS Lions,” said UAFS Chancellor Dr Terisa Riley. “About 150 students per year are in need of this type of financial assistance, and this generous donation from the Windgate Foundation will allow us to fully cover tuition and compulsory fees for students who face the greatest financial need.”
The fully funded Artist in Residence program will be a first for UAFS and will allow the university to bring innovative artists and designers to the university and the region to create new works and engage both students and scholars. community members, Waugh said. She said the university was “working quickly on this issue” now that funding had been confirmed. The university will soon begin the process of selecting the initial artist in residence with the aim of starting the program in the 2021-2022 academic year.
The funding will support the program for the next three years, and the program will provide a competitive funding program to support extended periods of residency for one artist or designer at a time, Waugh said. Residents will receive allowances, material assistance and housing assistance.
“We seek to engage artists and designers who have active professional careers and who can bring new energy and expertise to our campus through the work they produce and the educational programming they offer,” a- she declared.
Riley said the program will introduce students and faculty to various artistic methods and mediums, thereby expanding their depth and breadth of knowledge.
The internship fund will expand the existing options for art studio and graphic design students at UAFS. The three-year program will help provide financial compensation for the internships these students often do as part of pursuing their degrees, Waugh said. Additionally, this funding can be used to support shorter-term projects, which will open up students to a wider range of paid professional opportunities, she added. The nature and scope of internships and projects are open and flexible. Students can work with faculty mentors to assess appropriate internship and project options, and funding will be disbursed as it becomes available, she said.
“We are very pleased that the work and time that our students are putting into these experiences is both academically and financially beneficial,” said Waugh. “It helps students establish a role model and an early expectation of being paid for their creative work.”
The Windgate grant also includes more than $ 2.8 million dedicated to the Windgate Art and Design Building Facility endowment. The building, considered a premier fine arts center on the UAFS campus, was completed in 2015 and was funded by a $ 15.5 million grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.
“We are delighted to be able to operate this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility and provide a maintenance fund that will ensure the building continues to operate to the highest standards,” said Riley.
The additional funds for the Windgate Art and Design Building Endowment will help the university maintain the facilities inside the building, Waugh said.
“We want to make sure that our facilities remain an absolutely up-to-date, high-quality resource for students. In addition, this fund supports activities such as programming for our Windgate Gallery, which will reopen in the fall, ”said Waugh. “As we build our programs, develop new courses and improve our degree offerings, access to these funds will be all the more important. This donation will allow us to teach and learn in well-equipped spaces in the future.