The Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture at 1 Art School Road in Madison has completed a fundraising campaign that brought in more than $21 million. Above, Ron Pinkham mends a split-rail fence in 2015 on the school grounds. David Leaming/Morning Sentinel file

MADISON — A capital campaign marking the 75th anniversary of the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture raised more than $21 million, which officials say should have a transformational impact on the school.

As part of the campaign, a New York architectural firm oversaw a campus master plan that included the development or rehabilitation of eight facilities at the school to allow for, among other things, the expansion of offerings over time.

Established in 1946, the school at 1 Art School Road hosts an intensive nine-week summer residency program for emerging visual artists who are given studio space and access to a sculpture studio, fresco studio, media lab and a library with more than 14,000 volumes.

Located off East Madison Road, with frontage on Wesserunsett Lake, the school has more than 350 acres of farmland and forests. Each year, it looks to bring together diverse artists who have demonstrated a commitment to art-making and inquiry.

The faculty of resident and visiting artists provides those enrolled with support and critical assistance, according to the school’s website. The program is meant to provide an atmosphere in which participants are encouraged to work free of the expectations of the marketplace and academia.

Co-chaired by Eleanor Acquavella, Donald Moffett and Paula Volent, the fundraising campaign was the most significant fundraising initiative in the school’s history, and expands its capacity to support emerging visual artists, according to an announcement from the public relations firm that represents the school.


“Skowhegan has a founding history of inclusivity, welcoming artists of color, international artists, artists of different sexual orientations and gender at a time when it was not only less common, but oftentimes against societal norms and laws,” according to the announcement. “Furthermore, Skowhegan has always provided scholarships for any accepted artist, and participants are considered on the basis of their work, rather than their educational or professional experiences.”

Renovation projects and new construction that were part of the master plan included the Acquavella Sculpture Shop, made possible by the Acquavella Family Foundation. It provides a space to work in wood and metal, and houses a spray booth, tool and wood storage, small shop office and first aid area.

The David C. Driskell House honors the artist, curator and educator who died in 2020. Driskell was a former student, faculty member, trustee and Skowhegan Lifetime Legacy Award recipient. The facility will house up to 11 people.

The Helen Frankenthaler Studio is the first new building constructed on campus since 2011 and will provide studio space for three people. Frankenthaler was a visiting artist in 1986, and the studio is made possible by her eponymous foundation.

Other facilities include the Frank Moore Studio and Pollinator Garden, a four-studio, timber-frame building; Gund Dining Hall, which is named for Ann and Graham Gund and features reclaimed wood floors, windows overlooking the lake, an open kitchen and improved food storage; the Moffett/Gober Sculpture Pavilion, which features four existing sculpture yard studios converted into a covered pavilion for artists to work on large-scale projects; and the Pollock-Krasner Ceramics Studio, which was funded by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and includes two existing sculpture yard studios converted into the first dedicated space for ceramics, with wheels, a slab roller, a sink and other features.

The Kippy Stroud Cottage for staff members includes five studio apartments, a common kitchen and shared living space. The residence is supported through a grant from the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation.


Next door is a staff cottage dubbed the “Twin A’s,” named in honor of Ann Gund by Agnes Gund. The flexible staff cottage layout suits a variety of living configurations and provides appropriate privacy and living space for program staff members who are alumni.

Two campus additions anticipated for this year are a flexible space and a series of natural amphitheater spaces, both designed to supplement existing studio facilities and allow for innovations in performance, dance, movement and new genres.

Campaign gifts include those from Paula J. Volent, The Looker Foundation and Greg and Susie Palm and the Palm Foundation.

The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation has provided a $2.5 million grant for an endowment.

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