Roti Roti Art Center receives $100,000 donation

Published: May. 8, 2023 at 12:03 AM EDT
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BUCHANAN, Mich. (WNDU) - Local artist and Professor Emeritus from the University of Notre Dame Thomas P. Fehlner donates $100,000 to the Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan.

In return, the organization has renamed its main gallery in his honor.

“And he actually did it through the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation,” says Roti Roti Art Center interim executive director Mary Lister. “He donated the funds there into our endowment so that the funds will stream through there, and they will reach us for many, many years to come.”

But for Tom, this is about more than just money; it’s about family.

“My wife died last October, and this is one facility that we were both involved in; she as a volunteer as well as a board member, and I was (teaching and taking) art classes here,” says Thomas P. Fehlner, Emeritus Grace-Rupley Professor of Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame. “When it came down to a decision on something that both honors her and the family, I decided to go with the art center.”

From spending time at the art center for many years, Fehlner says seeing how devoted the volunteers are made his decision that much easier.

“They have a really dedicated group of volunteers here, and life has not always been easy for them, and they’ve managed to overcome some real serious bumps in the road, and I thought this was a really good place to invest the money,” Fehlner said.

This investment will help teach and promote local artists, regardless of their age or skill level.

“We have classes for children and for adults alike, and we just love to have people come and see us,” Lister said.

Upon retiring from Notre Dame, Fehlner devoted his life to the arts, first as a student and then as a teacher.

Tom Fehlner’s art is currently on display at the Fehlner Family Gallery in the Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan.

The Roti Roti Art Center is located at 117 W. Front Street, Buchanan, MI, 49107.

Roti Roti’s hours are Wednesday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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