Eastern Michigan University announced, via Campus Update email on May 13, that the Windgate Foundation has granted EMU $2.2 million for an on-campus 3D Arts Complex.
The Windgate Foundation grants scholarships to nonprofit public charities such as K-12 schools and higher education for craft and visual arts. They donated a matching grant to EMU, while the EMU Foundation has also set a goal to raise $400,000 for the project.
In total, $4.6 million has been awarded for the renovations. The funds benefit 3D arts at EMU which includes ceramics, furniture design, sculpture, and metalsmithing.
Although the Windgate Foundation was unavailable to comment, their generous donation is appreciated by the university and the School of Arts and Design, at EMU.
“The Windgate Foundation’s purpose is to support fine craft in America, and they are doing a tremendous job to keep craft as a very viable option in this country by supporting so many institutions,“ Sandra Murchison, the director of arts and design, said. "The Windgate Foundation is an incredibly important resource for those areas, especially traditional craft areas such as ceramics, metalsmithing, and furniture design.”
The newly renovated 3D Art Complex will be located on the northwest side of campus, building onto the current Sculpture Studio. A left-wing and a right-wing will be added to the building to accommodate room for 3D art studios.
“We hope and expect to be able to teach classes in the sculpture studio even as they are building around it,” Murchison said.
Currently, 3D art classes are spread out on campus.
“The largest benefit, in my view, is that students in our 3D disciplines will now be housed all in one space instead of being separated in several different buildings," John DeHoog, an EMU professor of furniture design, said. “It will truly be a community of 3D art students."
The renovations will allow 3D art students and faculty to be together inside and outside the classroom.
“While students gain much of their knowledge, experience, and expertise during class time, a lot of student learning also happens informally: conversations in the hallway, bumping into a friend or instructor on the way to class, happening upon an artwork in progress from another class. These are important aspects of a student’s education, and we will now have a building that not only allows for this to happen but actually encourages it to happen by its design and layout,” DeHoog said.
Murchison explained what will be included in the 3D Arts Complex outside of the spacious new studios, “We expect to have an all-purpose critique wall and gallery space. It will be a space that provides a place for people to work in an all-purpose workspace but it is especially intended to be a nice, clean, open atrium area for critique purposes.”
The Board of Regents meeting will take place on June 10, via EMU’s YouTube channel, where they will vote on the recommendation to renovate. Renovations are projected to take place in 2023.