Art and Design Succeeds in Matching $500,000 Gift

by Greg Scott

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Art and Design enhanced its research and scholarship efforts by successfully raising funds to match a gift from an Arkansas-based visual arts foundation.

In April 2005, Windgate Charitable Foundation, located in Siloam Springs, Ark., pledged $500,000 to the SIU Foundation for the benefit of the School of Art of Design. The donation was a challenge gift, meaning $500,000 had to be raised to receive the Windgate pledge amount. With the support of generous alumni and donors, the School raised well over its goal.

“Windgate’s generosity enables us to enhance the quality of the academic experience for our students,” says Peter Chametzky, director of the School of Art and Design. “Alumni and donors from each department in the School assisted us in meeting this challenge. Everyone really came together; we appreciate Windgate’s support.”

Windgate funds arts programs nationwide, specifically visual arts, arts and crafts, and art history preservation efforts. The organization was founded to support the idea of healthy family relationships through education programs for parents, conferences for marriage enrichment, and classes to develop well-rounded children devoted to their families.

The School met Windgate’s challenge through its various comprehensive fundraising efforts, including a direct mail campaign to its alumni, and its popular Art Over Easy benefit. Art Over Easy features artwork produced by faculty, students, alumni, and community members. Funds are raised through an auction format. Additionally, Chametzky says students in metals and glass made a contribution through their fundraising activities.

“That says a lot about our students. It demonstrates that they are happy and feel a sense of loyalty to our program,” he says. “They were willing to part with their hard-earned money to support future students who will come here and benefit.”

Chametzky says funds will be split to support faculty and student research activities in addition to scholarships.

Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the SIU Foundation, says: “The Windgate Foundation and all the other generous alumni and donors realize the importance of providing resources to our young aspiring artists. Windgate’s challenge exhibits its respect and appreciation for the SIU Carbondale School of Art and Design. Furthermore, the support of our alumni, donors and students indicate that they want the School’s excellence to continue well into the future.”

Windgate has a history of supporting Southern. Richard Smith, a 1992 SIU Carbondale graduate and holder of the L. Brent Kington Chair in Blacksmithing, has a long relationship with Windgate. One of Smith’s art patrons is a Windgate employee, who assisted the University in establishing this relationship.

“I’m thankful that Windgate is contributing funding at this level. It speaks highly of our excellence in teaching and research,” Smith says. “It is critical for us to continue working with Windgate in the future. Hopefully, Windgate will further support various aspects of the School of Art and Design.”