Windgate Foundation's $1 Million Gift Advances Bradbury Art Museum
JONESBORO, Ark. – Windgate Charitable Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to Bradbury Art Museum (BAM) at Arkansas State University, another major step in its continuing philanthropic support to the museum and its educational mission.
Since 2015, the foundation has provided financial assistance to assist BAM with its transition from gallery to museum. In recognition of this ongoing commitment, the Windgate Gallery has become the fourth endowed exhibition space of the six that comprise the museum.
“Since being designated a museum, BAM has strived earnestly to enhance the region's access to and appreciation for the arts by producing an ambitious exhibition schedule paired with educational programming," said Les Christensen, director of Bradbury Art Museum. "We appreciate very much Windgate Charitable Foundation's generous gift, which has helped make it possible for school groups, special needs adults, seniors and the public to enjoy weekend workshops, Thursday evening events, guided tours and individually-tailored activities."
Previously, Windgate Charitable Foundation responded to a matching gift challenge from the museum's benefactors, Curt and Chucki Bradbury of Little Rock.
"One of Arkansas State's priorities is to create learning experiences through service to our region and partnerships with our community," according to Dr. Kelly Damphousse, chancellor. " Because of the Windgate Charitable Foundation's commitment, BAM will be more successful in sharing the arts with more individuals in our area. This latest gift, along with previous support for BAM’s outreach, helps us to reach those objectives. We are extremely grateful for the foundation's generosity."
According to Christensen, numerous studies have concluded that exposure to the arts creates a wide range of academic, economic and social benefits, thus making BAM's mission of providing high quality art experiences especially important.
For the past three years, Bradbury Art Museum has welcomed local high schools students who visit the museum and select an inspirational artwork, then work on their own creation and a written statement in response. Due to strong interest, BAM is extending this program to all high schools in the six-county area.
"We currently partner with a local organization that works with children," Christensen added. "Throughout the school year our education coordinator and part-time student employees provide them with after-school classes and visits to the museum. We have found that continuity is a significant factor in our success, so in the future we hope to continue our interaction during the summer months. Additionally, in the upcoming years we would like to offer summer art classes to our community. These morning and afternoon sessions will be held in June and July and would be available to all children regardless of their economic status."
The Windgate Charitable Foundation, based in Siloam Springs, is a private grant-making foundation established in 1993. Its principal goal is to fund projects that strengthen marriage and family relationships, promote art and craft education, support youth programs and K-12 education, and assist Christian higher education.
Bradbury Art Museum is located in Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Dr., on the A-State campus. Museum hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and by appointment. Admission to the exhibitions is free.
For additional information, one may contact the museum at (870) 972-2567.