'Act One': The arts as a uniting force

Nell J. Redfield Foundation pledges $2M gift to School of Arts renovation

10/29/2012 - By: Roseann Keegan
Rendering of updated building A $2 million lead gift from the Redfield Foundation will help transform the School of the Arts Church Fine Arts Building in many ways, including this new proposed west side entrance from Virginia Street.

The Nell J. Redfield Foundation has pledged a $2 million lead gift toward a $4 million renovation of the School of the Arts Church Fine Arts Building at the University of Nevada, Reno.

"The arts are a uniting force, not just at the University, but beyond our campus borders," University President Marc Johnson said. "The generosity of the Redfield Foundation will enhance the educational experience for our students, expand the spectrum of theatrical experiences for our patrons and continue to contribute to quality of life in our region."

The Redfield Foundation's gift supports the first phase of the renovation project, known as "Act One." The cornerstone of Act One is the renovation of the 25-year-old Nell J. Redfield Proscenium Theatre, with upgrades to lighting, sound and electrical rigging systems, modernization of the stage and seating venue, introduction of raked seating and hydraulic stage lifts, creation of an interior control booth, and a 6,000 square-foot expansion of the scene shop. Act One will also include the remodeling of the Front Door Gallery and the creation of an atrium entrance on Virginia Street. The estimated completion date for Act One is late 2013.

"The Redfield Foundation has a deep and longstanding interest in fine arts in general and the Nell J. Redfield Proscenium Theatre in particular," said Jerry Smith, Redfield Foundation trustee. "This gift will make it possible to make necessary renovations to the theatre and to take a lead in developing the new center for fine arts."

In dedication to the project, President Johnson committed $900,000 in University funds, approximately 25 percent of the total project cost, for the purchase of an automated rigging system and lighting and sound systems, which were installed this summer. With the $2 million pledge from the Redfield Foundation, the remaining $1.1 million will be raised through additional private fundraising.

"For nearly 40 years, University of Nevada, Reno theatre students have begun their professional careers in theatre, film, television and a host of other industries within our walls," said Scott Casper, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "The Act One project will create a modern venue with updated technology. Community members attending performances on campus will experience these improvements firsthand with more exciting and creative productions.

"Our existing space will be enhanced with new technologies, along with a stunning lobby gallery and entrance, making Church Fine Arts a jewel on our campus and a performing arts destination throughout the region," he added.

Over the past three decades, the Redfield Foundation has committed more than $35 million to the University of Nevada, Reno, including substantial support for the William N. Pennington Health Sciences Building, the Nell J. Redfield Foundation Auditorium in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center, the Sports Medicine Fellowship, the Student Outreach Clinic, the Orvis School of Nursing and the colleges of education, engineering, liberal arts and science.

In April, the Redfield Foundation pledged $1.5 million to support research efforts at the School of Medicine, and donated more than $100,000 to the Student Outreach Clinic and the Sports Medicine Fellowship.

In 2005, the Redfield Foundation donated a $9.2 million parcel of land at the southwest junction of Mount Rose Highway and U.S. 395 to create the Redfield Campus, a south Reno base for the University and Truckee Meadows Community College. A year later, the foundation pledged $5 million for the inaugural building.

In 2010, the foundation established the Nell J. Redfield Foundation Scholarship Program for National Merit Scholars at the University of Nevada, Reno, with a commitment to support 20 National Merit Scholars. The foundation also supports scholarships for engineering students and women's athletics.


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