The Cook family and their local company, have supported a multitude of IU programs and projects. Now, thanks to a generous donation by Mrs. Cook, historic Maxwell Hall has been transformed into the Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts & Humanities. The center will serve as a campus hub for humanities research, creative activity, and community engagement.
“We have restored quite a few buildings and this one is definitely worth it,” she says. “It is a mass of limestone that will be here forever. I’m impressed by the fact that this building is being kept and reused because they don’t build buildings like this anymore.” This will be the first structure named solely after Gayle Cook.
Beyond another restoration in her portfolio, Cook is giving arts and humanities students a hub on campus to form communities around their interests and learn from the best artists and thinkers in the country at lectures and workshops. When asked to offer advice to current students, Mrs. Cook shared, “You can put art into everything.” Mrs. Cook’s life strongly illustrates this perspective.
During her time as a student at IU in the 1950s, she had famed artists Alma Eikerman and Alton Pickens to instruct her in the studios, where she preferred drawing. “IU has come a long way since my days as an art student,” Cook says. It’s true: in the Cook Center, students and community members have the chance to learn from today’s professors and professionals of Eikerman and Pickens’s caliber, and continue those transformative conversations in art galleries, breakout rooms, and mixers.
And thanks to her generosity, students like her now have space inside Maxwell Hall to develop and explore their artistic craft for years to come—as well as the woods outside it.
Learn more about the Cook Center in Maxwell Hall