John Brown University announced today an anonymous $2 million gift to establish the Charles Peer Endowed Chair in Visual Arts and a $1 million matching challenge for endowed art scholarships.

The endowed chair and new scholarships are part of JBU’s $125 million Campaign for the Next Century: A Hope and a Future, which was also announced today.

The new endowed chair is a part of the new $10 Million Endowment for Academic Excellence project in the Next Century Campaign. “It is a great privilege to honor Charles Peer for his incredible contribution to JBU,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “These funds will support Charles, the first holder of the chair, in his teaching, painting and curating as well as the growth in the Visual Arts Department at JBU.”

Peer started teaching at JBU in 1987 and, together with colleague Dave Andrus, founded JBU’s Visual Arts Department in 1990. Today, the Visual Arts department at JBU is the largest program with almost 250 students studying in eight different fields.

Peer works primarily with soft pastels and explores the interaction of colors in landscapes. A few of his accolades include his receipt of the President’s Award at the Northwest Pastel Society 28th Annual International Open Exhibit, several “Best in Shows” at Ozark Pastel Society Competitions, and Best of the Show at the Richeson75 International Competition for Landscapes, Seascapes and Architecture. He has been the Summer Artist in Residence at the Buffalo River National Park and was selected to be included in “Best of America Pastel Artists, Volume 2” by Kennedy Publishing.

“Charles is an incredible asset to the Visual Arts department at JBU,” said Dave Andrus, professor and visual arts department chair at JBU. “He is everything you want in a faculty member: strong character, excellent professionalism, kind attentiveness and prolific talent. I consider it a great honor to have come to work every day for 25 years with Charles Peer.”

The $1 million challenge will be matched dollar for dollar when JBU raises $1 million toward endowed scholarships for JBU Art Students. The scholarships will be awarded to art students throughout their four years at JBU.

“We are deeply grateful to the anonymous donor that has sought to honor Charles and support art students through this generous endowment gift,” said Pollard.