Windgate Center built to enhance musical experience
The Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts represents a significant investment in the music program at the University of Central Arkansas and the future of music education in the region and across the country.
The spacious and modern building is aesthetically pleasing but has been designed with acoustics and functionality in mind. One of the most impressive features of the new building is the concert hall, which is not only visually stunning, but also equipped with acoustics that have been carefully designed to ensure the highest level of sound quality.
“The recital hall in Snow Fine Arts seated somewhere around 250 bodies, but the new recital hall at the Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts will seat 450,” said Brent Shires, associate professor of music and brass chamber music coordinator.
“That’s an important number because it’s small enough that things feel intimate and the hall feels full, but it’s large enough to accommodate our audience sizes for day-to-day recitals. To have a full hall is important psychologically for the performer, but even more importantly, it’s a big deal acoustically because the bodies in the seats change how the sounds play out.”
In addition to the new and improved concert hall, the Windgate Center also has a range of rehearsal spaces and practice rooms that cater to the needs of students and faculty.
Jacob Rodriguez, a student ambassador from Foreman, Arkansas, plays the trumpet for the Bear Marching Band. He says he was blown away the first time he entered the building.
“It’s so state-of-the-art, and it feels like you’ve been transported into this brand new, really cool place,” Rodriguez said. “A new multi-million dollar building really shows the music students that UCA cares about them and finds value in the arts. When they were building it, the fencing around the construction site said, ‘Expanding the arts in Arkansas.’ I thought that was impactful especially because other places are cutting art programs, but UCA is investing in it.”
Nia Kelley, a sophomore vocal performance major from North Little Rock, had her eye on UCA since attending the summer Arkansas Choral Connection choir camps starting in middle school. She was in awe when she first visited the choir room inside the Windgate Center.
“The colors are so vibrant, and we have so much more space,” Kelley said. “You can sing out, enjoy yourself and have the space you need to be able to move around. The new auditorium and sound system will not only allow us to make quality music but also to record quality music and put on amazing productions.”
The building will allow UCA to expand its arts programming and foster collaborative partnerships across academic disciplines, attract more artists and offer more opportunities for growth.
“UCA has always had a strong music program, and we have always been a leader in the state and in the region, all the way back to Homer Brown back in the day up until present day,” said Shires. “The legacy of the Department of Music is moving forward. We should be immensely proud of where we are headed toward the future. The Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts shows that we can put together mind-blowing facilities, programs, teaching opportunities, and performances for our students and our community. It shows the world how invested UCA is in the futures of our students.”
Overall, the new building at UCA is a game-changer for the music department faculty and students. The contemporary facility provides students the resources they need to excel in their program while pursuing their passion for music. It is a testament to the commitment of UCA to provide its students with the best possible education and prepare them for success in their careers.
“This new facility is going to leave people with the impression of not only our amazing faculty, amazing students, and amazing music, but an amazing place where all of this happens on campus,” said Shires. “That sends a signal on a national level that we are one of the major players in the music scene. This new building represents our forward direction as a university and as the center of music in Arkansas.”