Missouri Western has just announced a $3 million renovation of the Potter Hall Art Gallery that will include a visual arts annex named after contributor Drew. H. Brown. Brown’s $1 million donation resulted in over $30 million being contributed by the Missouri Western Centennial Campaign.
The announcement was made during the university’s Donor Appreciation Reception on April 9. The annex is a $3 million project that was waiting for funding until Brown’s donation. Development on the annex will begin once the university finds a foundation to contribute the remaining $1.5 million.
The Drew H. Brown Annex will focus more on visual arts, bring a bigger performance area and free up more space to Potter Hall.
President Robert Vartabedian said the annex is a long-awaited project that will benefit the arts students.
“[the Drew. H. Brown Annex] will considerably [raise] our offerings in the visual arts and free up a lot of space in what is now Potter Hall for lots of areas associated with the arts,” Vartabedian said. “It’ll be a wonderful additional building that will be called the Drew Brown Arts Annex and just so many opportunities for students in both the visual and performing arts, that facility in particular for visual arts and three-dimensional visual arts.”
Brown said the goal of his contribution was to give back to the community and the university.
“The university contributes so much to this area,” Brown said. “Obviously, its primary mission is workforce development, but the fact that we have a university here in St. Joseph enhances the environment so much, [in] so many ways that I can’t even describe. So I want to do all that I can to help further the university’s mission.”
Vartabedian will be leaving the university and President-delegate Matthew Wilson will be taking his position starting in July. The president wanted to have one last hoorah before retiring.
“It’s very gratifying,” Vartabedian said. “I remember I was telling my wife, it would be really nice if we could have one more victory before it’s over and really out of nowhere we were presented with a million dollar check by a wonderful man whose totally dedicated to this community and totally dedicated to this university.”