On behalf of the Lamar, Reilly and Switzer families, Pensacola philanthropists Bobby, Charlie and John Switzer presented Pensacola State College President Edward Meadows and the District Board of Trustees with a $1 million gift today.
As the lead gift, the $1 million goes toward construction of the future Charles W. Lamar Studio at PSC’s Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Airport Boulevard.
The approximately 7,000-square-foot addition includes multiuse space for educational instruction, public lectures and publicly displayed artworks that will be architecturally designed as an accredited art gallery. The overall $3 million project includes an endowment to fund Visual Arts program support as well as construction.
With projected completion in fall 2017, the Charles W. Lamar Studio is part of a vision to create a Regional Arts Center accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).
“The Switzer, Lamar and Reilly families have long been supporters for Pensacola State’s Visual Arts program,” Meadows said. “This major gift will create the momentum needed to propel the college’s Visual Arts program as a desirable regional destination for art lovers and students alike.
“We are so very fortunate to have the individuals in these families with the vision and financial commitment to help Pensacola State realize this long sought after facility.”
Since its last expansion in 2000, the Anna Lamar Switzer Center attracts more than 64,000 gallery visitors each year and accommodates more than 1,100 students annually enrolled in Visual Arts programs, with classes offered 14 hours each day. The last expansion also was initiated with a lead gift of $1 million from the Switzer, Reilly and Lamar families in 1998.
“Our great grandfather C.W. Lamar loved Pensacola and believed it was a great place because of all it offered,” said Bobby Switzer. “Part of any great city is a thriving arts community and Pensacola State College is a huge part of that vitality.”
Charlie Switzer added, “We continue to support the PSC Visual Arts program because it’s a place where art is actively created. This new expansion will help address the tremendous growth in PSC art programs with space for students to not only actively create but also publically display their artwork.”