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Kanye West donates $10 million to Roden Crater; ASU partners with James Turrell

The goal is for the large-scale artwork to open to the public for the first time in the next five years.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Northeast of the Flagstaff, on the edge of the Painted Desert sits Roden Crater, a cinder cone inside a dormant volcano. It's where artist James Turrell has spent nearly half his life, working to shape it into a unique observatory, with different rooms and tunnels that will be a gateway to the contemplation of light, time and landscape, he says.

Roden Crater has been closed to the public as Turrell continues to build the project with an estimated few hundred people invited to visit it each year. 

As Turrell, 75, gets close to completing this large-scale artwork, news broke Monday that rapper, producer and fashion designer Kanye West is donating $10 million to the Turrell Art Foundation, per the Wall Street Journal.

West visited Roden Crater back in December.

Additionally, Arizona State University announced Monday it is partnering with Turrell, working to raise $200 million to see the completion of the project and build infrastructure around the site, including a visitor's center, and the help conserve the area.

A handful of students at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU were able to visit the site last fall. ASU says Turrell is interested in creating an opportunity for teaching and learning. The school is developing an online class with Turrell, and four lab courses this spring will include students visiting the site.

The goal is for the site to be open to the public within the next five years.

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