Gayle Cook dinner’s donation will help the brand new Cook dinner Heart for Public Arts and Humanities at IU Bloomington: Information at IU: Indiana College
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A gift from Bloomington Alumna of Indiana University and Monument Conservator Gayle Cook will help restore the historic Maxwell Hall, which will house the new Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities.
The architect George W. Bunting built Maxwell Hall in 1890, an intricate structure made of stone, in the style of the Richardsonian Romanesque Revival, with masonry made entirely of handcrafted limestone. Unique features include a fireplace in the reading room made from more than nine types of stone that reflects the exterior of the building. a carved, coiled serpent over the entrance and bat-like grotesques guarding the roof line (one of which carries an IU shield); and alternating horizontal layers of smooth and rough limestone connected with curves and arches.
The gift uses a $ 500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund the renovation of Maxwell Hall in the Old Crescent portion of campus.
The new center will host several of IU Bloomington’s most public arts and humanities centers, including the Arts and Humanities Council, College Arts and Humanities Institute, Center for Rural Engagement, IU Corps, and Traditional Arts Indiana.
“We are grateful to Gayle Cook for her generous support, which will strengthen Indiana University’s reputation as a national leader, the educational importance and public value of the arts and humanities and the integral role they continue to play in our daily lives to underline. ” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “This center will also nurture the talent and creativity of our students, faculties and staff, building on the great arts and cultural traditions of the IU that we can proudly share with the entire community.”
“Maxwell Hall is at the intersection between campus and community,” said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. “Gayle’s gift will bring Maxwell Hall back to the public as a dynamic hub for the spectacular humanities and arts on our campus.
“We are grateful to Gayle for her gift in restoring this historically important space and we are delighted that she has allowed us to name the center for her. The space will focus Indiana University Bloomington’s efforts, the campus treasures that we have manage to bring our students and the people of Indiana. “
The center comes at the perfect time for IU Bloomington. In 2018 alone, the campus received more than $ 2.5 million in external funding for the arts and humanities, including major grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. The arts and humanities awards at IU Bloomington have exceeded $ 30 million since 2016.
This increased support reflects societal change in emerging professional fields, many of which now depend on interdisciplinary research that produces projects with greater and more dynamic social impact. Urban planners and civic groups also demand more from the arts and humanities, as they serve as a framework for productive civic discourse and creative placemaking and promote important forms of exchange between cultures and nations. The center will help IU Bloomington meet these and other challenges.
“Gayle’s generous gift will transform the university landscape and mark a historic moment for the thriving humanities community on our campus,” said Ed Comentale, director of the IU Arts and Humanities Council and assistant vice provost for the arts and humanities.
He said the space will help the faculty develop new teaching, research and creative activities that are multidisciplinary, publicly and socially responsive.
“Maxwell Hall is a wonderful place to celebrate the arts and humanities,” he said. “The center, both as a showcase and an active scientific center, will cement our reputation as the national leader in efforts to reaffirm the contemporary value and utility of the arts and humanities.”
Gayle Cook is a 1956 Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts. She received an honorary doctorate for humane letters in 1993 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2015, one of IU’s many awards and honors.
Cook’s IU art degree set the stage for the creative vision she and her late husband Bill Cook brought with her to historic preservation projects such as the restoration of the West Baden Springs Hotel and Colonel William Jones House in Gentryville, Indiana. As a historic preservationist, Cook hopes Maxwell Hall will return to its original beauty while creating a thriving, forward-looking center for expression, teaching, community, and collaboration.
Renovation work at Maxwell Hall will begin in the spring and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.