A gift from a prominent Indiana University alumna is going to help restore a historic building on the Bloomington campus. The university says the donation from philanthropist and historical preservationist Gayle Cook will be used to fund renovations to Maxwell Hall, which will house the new Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities.
IU says the gift leverages a $500,000 matching Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“We are extremely grateful to Gayle Cook for her generous support, which will further Indiana University’s reputation as a national leader in underscoring the educational importance and public value of the arts and humanities and the integral role they continue to play in our daily lives,” said IU President Michael McRobbie. “This center will also nurture the talent and creativity of our students, faculty and staff, and, in doing so, build upon IU’s magnificent arts and cultural traditions that we are proud to share with the entire community.”
The center is set to house several of IU Bloomington’s most public-facing arts and humanities centers, including the Arts and Humanities Council, College Arts and Humanities Institute, Center for Rural Engagement, IU Corps and Traditional Arts Indiana.
IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel says Gayle’s gift will “return Maxwell Hall to the public sphere as a dynamic hub for the spectacular humanities and arts of our campus.” Adding, “The space will focus the University’s efforts to take the campus treasures we steward to our students and the people of Indiana.”
The funding for the center is more good news for the IU Bloomington campus who has secured more than $30 million in external arts and humanities awards since 2016. The University believes the increased support for the arts shows a societal shift in emerging job fields that depend on interdisciplinary research that can produce projects that have more dynamic social impact. Officials hope the new center will help the IU Bloomington campus meet the coming challenges.
Ed Comentale, director of the IU Arts and Humanities Council believes this most recent gift will “transform the university landscape and mark a historical moment” for the campus’s “thriving arts and humanities community.” Adding that Maxwell Hall “as both a showcase and active scholarly hub, will cement our (IU Bloomington) reputation as a national leader in efforts to affirm the contemporary value and utility of the arts and humanities.”
Maxwell Hall renovations will begin in the spring and are expected to be complete by fall 2020.