Walton Arts Center announces two major gifts from long-time arts advocates, Nicholas and Carolyn Cole and Malcolm and Ellen Hayward. Their gifts will be recognized on rooms which will store musical instruments as part of the Investing in our Future: The Expansion of Walton Arts Center, Walton Arts Center’s $23 million campaign to add 30,000 square feet of space, which includes a new and expanded atrium lobby that connects to Dickson Street, significant renovations and expansion of Starr Theater, increased space for back of house technical and theatrical equipment and new administrative offices.

The completion date for the Dickson Street renovation is fall of 2016. Construction on the main building and Starr Theater will continue through the 2015/16 season with minimal impact on regular programming.

The two gifts will be recognized in two new spaces that will allow proper storage of musical instruments backstage. The Cole’s gift will be recognized on the new Piano Room which will house two grand pianos when they are not being used. The Hayward’s gift will be recognized on the new Instrument Storage Room which will house multiple types of instruments. Both rooms will have climate control features and significantly improve the longevity and quality of the instruments.

“Investing in our future means taking care of our instruments,” said Peter B. Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center. “These remarkable gifts will ensure that artists performing in our hall will be able to play instruments that have been stored appropriately. The Cole’s and Hayward’s generosity continue to give our campaign momentum and we are deeply grateful.”

The Coles and Haywards have been active arts patrons of Walton Arts Center for many years. The Haywards were instrumental in the original capital campaign when Malcolm led the effort to purchase the Walton Arts Center’s orchestra shell.

Malcolm Hayward said, “This expansion is transformational for Walton Arts Center and Northwest Arkansas. We hope our gift will inspire others to be a part of this important campaign. Every gift really does make a difference.”

Carolyn Cole shared, “Nick and I are proud of the impact that Walton Arts Center makes in Northwest Arkansas and are pleased to be a part of this campaign which will allow even more world-class programming for our community.” The Coles were original funders of the Artosphere Festival and continue to support the Walton Arts Center in a variety of ways.

Walton Arts Center announced the purchase of a Steinway D Concert Grand Piano in June, thanks to a donation by Sara Sharp and the NWA Community Concerts Association but the piano will not be housed in Fayetteville until the proper storage room is completed.

Additional private support is important to leveraging the generosity of the Cole and Hayward gifts, the City of Fayetteville and its residents who voted in support of the Yes! Yes! Yes! Campaign. Walton Arts Center is excited about what the future holds and invites the community to Play a pART!

Individuals are invited to Play a pART by purchasing an engraved brick to be placed in the Underwood Family Plaza or inscribe a name plate on a chair in Baum Walker Hall or Starr Theater. Bricks and pavers that were part of the 1992 capital campaign will be reinstalled in the Rose Garden on the Dickson Street side of the facility.

To learn more about giving opportunities for the expansion at Walton Arts Center, contact the Development Office at 479.571.2759 or www.waltonartscenter.org/expansion.