University Co-operative Society's $300,000 grant funds College of Fine Arts student activity center

AUSTIN, Texas—The University Co-operative Society has awarded $300,000, the largest single gift it has made to The University of Texas at Austin, to the university’s College of Fine Arts for the design and construction of a new student center in the E. William Doty Fine Arts building.

The new student center on the ground floor of the building is expected to be completed in time for a fall 2007 opening. Additional funding for the project will be provided by the College of Fine Arts.

The “Co-Op Fine Arts Student Center” will include a coffee bar and food service, a student exhibition space for both traditional and digital media, a lounge for students, faculty and staff, patio seating, student services offices and an area for workshop and teaching activities.

The renovation is part of an a broad plan to redesign the Doty Fine Arts building as a center of social and artistic life for fine arts on the university campus. Fine Arts programs are spread out in at least seven facilities concentrated in the northeast corner of campus, an area remote to Guadalupe Street and the Texas Student Union. The Co-op Fine Arts Student Center will offer students a place to study, interact, dine and relax while raising the visibility of student affairs and career services offices housed there.

“The goal is to create a center of student and faculty life that fosters interaction among our many arts students and faculty: violinists and dancers, composers and choreographers, art history and education students and painters and singers,” said Douglas Dempster, senior associate dean of the College of Fine Arts. “In collaboration with the University Libraries, the College of Fine Arts has already completed renovation of the main floor of the Fine Arts Library on the third floor of the Doty Building, making it a much more attractive, modern learning space, incorporating a wide variety of new individual and group learning technologies.”

A design team has been formed and is working with university architects, Deborah Femat and Eric Miller, to redesign the student center in the Doty Building.

The Co-operative Society and its president, George H. Mitchell, have been extremely generous supporters of the Fine Arts, Dempster said.

“This is only one of several important gifts they’ve made to foster the arts on campus and to help arts students with modest resources and even more modest professional opportunities: $100,000 to the Blanton Museum of Art, $20,000 annually for the New Works Festival are just a couple examples. Recently, the Co-op opened Gallery 3—a gallery space available for the College of Fine Arts, which will give students another opportunity for professional exposure,” Dempster said.

For more information contact: Douglas Dempster, College of Fine Arts, 512-232-4629; Amy M. Crossette, Office of Public Affairs, 512-471-3046.