$11M endowment to renovate Visual Arts

The mockup of what the new Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts will look like after renovations are complete on the Visual Arts building. The Feigenbaum Foundation gave Union an $11 million endowment for the new building, a scholarship, a professorial position and the Feigenbaum Forum on Innovation and Creativity. (Courtesy of Department of Communications and Marketing)

Union announced last Wednesday a groundbreaking renovation of the Visual Arts building that will join together the Yulman Theater, Henle Dance Pavilion and Taylor Music Center, according to a news release from the Department of Communications and Marketing. The renovations are supported by an $11 million endowment from the Feigenbaum Foundation.

(Courtesy of Department of Communications and Marketing)


President Stephen Ainlay commented, “Donald and Armand were very supportive of the college … they looked for ways that their legacy would be here forever, and we tried to build it into a component of the gift.”

The new Visual Arts building, which will be known as the “Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts,” will result in additional space for student and faculty exhibitions, expanded studios for different mediums of visual and media arts, brand-new 2D and 3D design labs and outdoor sculpture and metalworking suites. An improved, energy-efficient circulation system will be incorporated into the building design, amongst other building improvements.

Headed by late Union alumni Armand and Donald Feigenbaum, the Feigenbaum Foundation is a grant founda- tion centralized in Berkshire County, Mass., whose central goal is stated on its website as “[focusing] its financial assistance primarily on pursuits related to, affecting or associated with education in technology, engineering and management; academic institutions and disci- plines; medical institutions and disciplines; cultural programs and projects; community-basedtax-exempt organizations in the Berkshire County area; established religious institutions, programs and projects.”

The foundation also gave a $5 million grant to the Berkshire Theatre Group in June 2014 to put towards strengthening the theater’s educational department and expanding its economic role in the community.

“They believed that under- standing those parts of the work in the curriculum made them as successful as they were,” Ainlay said.

Additional funds from the foundation’s $11 million endowment of Union will go toward endowing a professor of behavioral economics, an annual four-year scholarship for a student in Berkshire County and a Feigenbaum Forum on Innovation and Creativity.

“We are delighted to be able to bring to fruition this gift that Armand and Donald had been considering but were unable to complete,” Feigenbaum Foundation President Emil J. George stated. “We are thankful for the guidance and assistance we received from President Ainlay and the wonderful senior administrative staff in crafting the uses for this gift.

We are especially excited about the scholarship that will be awarded to a Berkshire County student annually. Armand and Donald, we believe, would have reacted to this Feigenbaum Scholarship with boyhood enthusiasm.”

Renovations to the Visual Arts building are scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2016.


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