$4 million to fund Cal Lutheran art center

Gift to be used to construct new studios and offices

William Rolland's gift will help the university build the 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot William Rolland Art Center on the Thousand Oaks campus.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Feb. 26, 2015) William Rolland of Malibu has pledged up to $4 million to California Lutheran University to help build a new home for the Art Department.

Cal Lutheran will cover the remaining cost of up to $4 million for the design and construction of what will be the 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot William Rolland Art Center on the Thousand Oaks campus. It will house art studios, offices and possibly classrooms, computer labs and a student gallery.

The university’s Board of Regents voted Saturday to approve spending $300,000 for the initial planning and design. Once that work is completed, the board will approve the building project.

Art Department studios, offices and classrooms are currently spread out among two ranch buildings that pre-date the university’s 1959 founding and an old metal-roofed building. The new facility will bring the department under one roof and provide it with about twice as much space. The university provides education in studio arts, digital art, design and commercial art, and art history.

The visual arts complex will be located next to the William Rolland Stadium and Gallery of Fine Art. Rolland, a real estate developer and art collector, donated $5.45 million for that facility, which opened in 2011. The William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art has held several notable exhibits since its opening. Paintings by eight contemporary Chinese-born figurative artists are currently on display.

Cal Lutheran also holds art exhibits and residencies in its Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture. Six of the artists featured in the current Rolland Gallery exhibit, including one who lives in China, just completed a 10-day residency in the Kwan Fong Gallery, giving free public demonstrations and lectures.

The university has expanded its reach in the art world through The Representational Art Conference, which was launched by faculty members in 2012. About 400 artists, critics, academics, collectors and curators from throughout the world attended last year’s conference.

The William Rolland Art Center will be built on the current site of the temporary Riparian Building, which houses University Marketing, Conferences and Events, and Printing Services.

With an enrollment of 4,200 students, Cal Lutheran offers undergraduate and graduate programs through its College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Psychology and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.