Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

May 22, 2007

Whitworth to Build New Visual-Arts Facility with Expanded Gallery, Studio Spaces

A new center for the visual arts will reflect in bricks and mortar Whitworth's commitment to the centrality of artistic exploration and expression in a comprehensive liberal-arts education.

Ground will be broken the last week of May on the $7.1 million, 20,000-square-foot facility, which is scheduled to open in September of 2008. The building will feature significant gallery spaces, first-rate studios for a variety of disciplines, and extraordinary interior view corridors as well as exterior views to the center of campus and toward the mountains to the north.

"This will be a great addition to the Whitworth intellectual climate," says Whitworth President Bill Robinson. "In this building, students will create visual commentaries on the history and culture of the 21st century. Without words they will be theologians, political activists, sociologists and more. We are deeply grateful to those who have given generously to this project. Our superb art faculty will steward the facility well."

The proposed name for the building, pending board approval in October, is the Ernst F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts. The name recognizes a $2 million gift made to the project from the late Nevada real-estate developer and philanthropist's Lied Foundation Trust, which is administered by his longtime associate Christina Hixson.

In addition, incoming chairman of Whitworth's board of trustees Walter Oliver, '67, and his wife, Shirley, '77, have pledged up to $1 million for the building; the main gallery will be named in honor of their late son, Bryan. The student gallery and foyer area will be named for the Cowles family in recognition of a $500,000 gift from The Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation to the project. Current board chairman Chuck Boppell, '65, and his wife, Karlyn, '67, contributed $400,000 to name the drawing gallery in honor of Whitworth Professor Emeritus of Art Pauline Haas. And Itron CEO LeRoy Nosbaum, also a Whitworth board member, contributed $250,000 to name the painting studio in honor of his wife, Brenda.

"We are thankful to the many donors who are supporting our students by funding this beautiful building," says Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Le Roy. "Two of our academic goals are that every Whitworth student will gain an appreciation for aesthetic traditions and will develop the capacity for creative forms of expression. We are excited to build a facility worthy of Whitworth's outstanding art faculty and students."

The new facility will be nearly 2,500 square feet larger than Whitworth's current fine-arts building, which was constructed in 1966. The facility will include expanded gallery spaces for larger and more diverse touring exhibits, and shows by national and regional faculty and student artists. The new center will also house a computer lab and open, well-lit studios for ceramics and sculpture, mixed media, drawing, painting and printmaking. Picture windows in the corridors will allow visitors to look into the studios to observe the creative process. Computerized renderings of the building can be viewed online at www.whitworth.edu/VAB.

"Most people will enter the building on the second floor, into a multi-level lobby where the gallery entrance, department and faculty offices, and several studios will be located; there will also be view corridors into studios on the lower level," says Associate Professor of Art Scott Kolbo, who chaired the building-design committee. "The design of this facility will encourage communal interactions and collaboration between faculty, students and visitors. And the entire space will be flooded with natural light from an atrium on the main floor."

The building was designed by Spokane-based Madsen Mitchell Evenson & Conrad PLLC. T.W. Clark Construction LLC, also of Spokane, is the general contractor on the project.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college, which enrolls more than 2,500 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

 

Contacts:

Scott Kolbo, associate professor of art and chair of art building design committee, (509) 777-4711 or skolbo@whitworth.edu.

Steve Thompson, director of capital projects, (509) 777-4460 or sthompson@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, Whitworth College, 509-777-4580 (office),
509-869-6857 (mobile) or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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