The Center for Art in Wood announced Monday that it will receive a $10 million donation from the Windgate Foundation. In the same announcement, the center also said it would change its name to the Museum of Art in Wood.
“The museum is not really undergoing any transformation,” said Jennifer-Navva Milliken, the executive director and chief curator. “It is the name that captures the way the museum functions. My hope is that the public will be able to better understand what to expect [and] how to come in and use us, and enjoy and explore.”
The Windgate Foundation split the $10 million gift so that $3.5 million will be managed by the Arkansas Community Foundation, which will pay out a quarterly unrestricted grant to the museum. The remaining $6.5 million is managed by the museum, which invested the funds. The interest earned will be used for general operating support.
In the past decade, the Windgate Foundation has awarded significant gifts to the museum, including $2 million in 2013 and $2 million in 2017. “But this donation is “by far the largest,” Milliken said. “That doesn’t mean we’re not still fundraising doesn’t have to raise, we absolutely do, [but] it allows us to think about security in a way we couldn’t before.”
She added that the name change was already discussed when the news of the donation came, and it is not part of the donation. “We are already acting as a museum. We have a permanent and growing collection of artwork [and] are preserved, managed and researched according to museum standards.”
The museum’s collection contains 1,200 objects, and its research library contains 1,000 books and reading materials on the history of woodturning and woodworking. Located in Old Town, the museum is open to visitors Wednesday through Sunday.
Founded as the Woodturning Center in 1986, the museum hosts various exhibitions throughout the year. The next one, “The Mashrabiya Project,” is “the most ambitious programming” in the organization’s history, according to Milliken. Opening March 3, the show will explore intricate wooden window screens called mashrabiya and explore the importance of this architectural element in Islamic culture.