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Arrowmont establishes university fellows endowment with major grant from Windgate Foundation

GATLINBURG, TN - Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts received a $3,500,000 grant from the Windgate Foundation to establish the Windgate University Fellows Endowment, Arrowmont Executive Director Bill May announced today. The endowment will provide funds to enable university art students to attend Arrowmont.

“Developing programming that creates new opportunities for students and for Arrowmont is exciting. The Windgate University Fellowships fulfill important priorities of our mission by creating lasting partnerships with colleges and universities, promoting craft education, and supporting students who we believe will grow as artists from their experiences here,” said Bill May. “We are very appreciative of the Windgate Foundation’s gift, which ensures that these opportunities exist in perpetuity.”

  arrowmont pottery class
Arrowmont Pottery Class

Of the decision to create the endowment, Windgate Executive Director Pat Forgy said, “Arrowmont’s performance, diligence and leadership has earned our respect and trust. Their dedication to supporting university art students is a key step in helping students begin to realize what may come next in their careers by providing opportunities for instruction, collaboration and interactions with a range of artists. Windgate is happy to join with Arrowmont in continued support of the University Fellows program.”

The Windgate University Fellows matching grant initiative was begun in 2016 with a grant from the Windgate Foundation. The purpose of the initiative is to establish partnerships with colleges and universities encouraging art students to broaden their skills and education by attending Arrowmont. The initiative provides two students from each of the partnering colleges and universities with tuition, lodging and meals, travel and materials stipend for a one-week workshop.

Led by outreach and partnership liaison Bill Griffith, the project is highly successful with 62 colleges and universities and 112 students participating in 2018. Positive impacts of the project include increasing ethnic and generational diversity, engaging and building relationships with university faculty, maintaining connections with former Arrowmont Artists-in-Residence, raising awareness of the importance of making and skills building, and increasing enrollment. The impact the project has on participants is of particular importance as evidenced by the following comments.

“I just got back from attending Arrowmont. The experience, for me, was honestly life-changing. It felt as if I needed to be there, and it is an experience that I will never forget. The classes were informative and exciting, but above all else, it was the people I met who impacted me. I made unforgettable memories and friends. It truly did open a new world to me, and I am feeling very optimistic moving forward with my education and artistic career.” Madison Pooton, University of West Florida

“Attending Arrowmont enabled me to learn from, interact and collaborate with a range of artists and designers from all over the country. Being a part of this creative community permits me to share knowledge, experience and ideas through future collaborations. Your financial generosity allowed me to be one step closer to my goal, inspiring me to continue my pursuit of learning and creating across multiple disciplines.” Kelle Morgado, Appalachian State University

“It feels like words would really fail to describe my experience. It was truly incredible and awesome (and I mean that it really inspired awe) experience. Everything from the classes, the teachers, the people, the landscape, and even the food, was all incredible. And even now I hesitate, because I feel like that doesn’t capture everything from my short time there. I feel like in one week I was able to grow and learn so much as an artist, and that it’s hard to put it into words.” Nathan Taylor, Syracuse University.

Windgate Foundation: Windgate Foundation, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a private, family foundation supporting significant educational programs in craft and visual arts; art history preservation efforts; funding for K-12 and higher educational institutions for the development and support of the arts, scholarships and effective instructional programs; programs for disadvantaged children in Arkansas; and other such programs as the Board, at their discretion, may direct. Since 1993, Windgate has provided over $698 million in grants

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: Founded as a settlement school in 1912 by the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, Arrowmont has grown into a national center for contemporary arts and crafts education, supporting learning opportunities for individuals of all skills levels and ages. Arrowmont is located on 13-acres in the heart of Gatlinburg, TN only minutes away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With access to tourist attractions, the convenience of a large city nearby, and a thriving arts and crafts community, Arrowmont offers a unique and immersive learning environment - an unexpected creative oasis amidst the bustle of a popular tourist destination. The heritage of the School is rooted in an approach to the arts that builds upon traditional arts and crafts, and the joy of making. People travel from across the nation and the globe to take classes at Arrowmont. More than 150 national workshops are offered annually, in addition to a full complement of community classes, children’s classes and ArtReach classes, which provide a day of art to over 1,200 local school children annually. In addition, Arrowmont is host to numerous gallery exhibitions, symposia and conferences.


Published September 29, 2018










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