For more than three decades, faculty at Southwestern Illinois College along with students had worked to raise funds for the acquisition of art. Also, they sought to find a space that would promote the need for a dedicated space to present art work. In 1998, the foundation and college officials announced it had received more than $400,000 to make a space for where art could be celebrated on campus. In February 2001, groundwork was broken and the structure took shape. The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center is located on the Bellville Campus and houses a collection of over 900 works of art and artifacts. It is the largest collection of any two-year college in the state of Illinois.