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Nell J. Redfield Foundation pledges $2 million lead gift to School of the Arts

Gift supports ‘Act One’ renovation project to enhance University of Nevada, Reno art and theatre venues

RENO, Nev. – 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,” said University President Marc Johnson. “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.”Church Fine Arts rendering

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.

Faustus 2

Photo by Marilyn Newton.

“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.”

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.


Photo by Marilyn Newton.

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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Rendering cutline: A $2 million lead gift from the Nell J. Redfield Foundation supports the University of Nevada, Reno School of the Arts’ “Act One” renovation project, which proposes to create a new atrium entrance to the Church Fine Arts Building on Virginia Street.

Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of 18,000 students and is ranked in the top tier of the nation’s best universities. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. With outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties and with one of the nation’s largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit

Contact: Jane Tors
Director of Media Relations
University of Nevada, Reno/108
Reno, NV 89557
Office: 775-784-1880
Fax: 775-784-1422

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