- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - A $2 million gift was announced Friday for the Kirk Newman Art School at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

The gift is being made by Rosemary and John Brown of Kalamazoo. The announcement came during rededication events.

“Our hope is that the school will continue to thrive and to have an ongoing positive influence on the cultural life of the Kalamazoo area,” Rosemary Brown said in a statement.

Newman attended the ceremony. He is credited with helping to bring the school a more professional profile, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

He was a longtime director of the school and an art instructor for nearly 30 years after arriving in the late 1950s. Newman’s cast bronze, titled “People,” is one of the exterior sculptures at the museum’s South Street entrance.

Offering broader access to first-time students through scholarships and studio upgrades is part of the school’s immediate plans for the gift, said art school director and painting instructor Denise Lisiecki.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts currently provides more than $40,000 in scholarships to 200 students each year. About 3,000 students are enrolled in the art school.

“Every term, we hear gratitude from students for what we do,” Lisiecki said. “We hear thanks for a new technique, or a creative breakthrough, or for helping deal with grief or stress. At the least, we help people reconnect with their creativity. This gift from Rosemary and John means we can continue to do that, to serve our community, and enrich it for the future.”




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