Walton Arts Center announces a gift from long-time supporters, Bill and LeAnn Underwood and their family. Their gift is designated for 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.

In recognition of this gift, the new plaza located south of the arts center on West Street will be named the Bill and LeAnn Underwood Family Plaza. The plaza will include a new water feature as well as public art and native plants.

“Bill and LeAnn Underwood have been a part of Walton Arts Center from the very beginning with their original gift of the Underwood Garden,” said Peter B. Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center. “When we realized the expansion would require relocating the Underwood Garden, we talked with Bill and LeAnn and their family about how we could not only recreate the garden, but expand our outdoor space to become a destination where the public can enjoy public art and natural beauty. We are excited the new Underwood Family Plaza will feature a fountain that is both elegant and simple in its design and suits the space perfectly.” California sculptor Robert Patterson designed a hammered copper sculpture that stands approximately 10 feet tall. Installation is expected to be completed late spring 2016.

Bill Underwood shared, “We are so pleased to be a part of the next chapter of Walton Arts Center and hope our gift will encourage others to invest in the future of our community. Underwood’s Fine Jewelers has been on Dickson Street for more than 50 years, and Walton Arts Center has been a tremendous neighbor in creating the vitality of our downtown.”

Additional private support is important to leveraging the generosity of the Underwood family, 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.