University of Montevallo announces new Center for the Arts

From Staff Reports

The University of Montevallo announced plans for a new multi-million dollar Center for the Arts. The UM Board of Trustees approved the proposal for the Center on Friday, Feb. 10.

UM is currently working with architect firms to determine the best site for the new facility. The university expects to break ground on the project within the next year.

The estimated 36,000-square-foot facility will allow the College of Fine Arts at UM to provide a more comprehensive teaching and learning space, giving fine arts programs a location to collaborate more across disciplines.

“This facility is to create a new kind of environment that draws together students and faculty from all of the departments. That’s why I think of the center as a ‘collaboratory’ where people bump into each other … and encourage more high quality, discipline-specific and interdisciplinary activity,” Dr. Steven Peters, dean of the College of Fine Arts said. “It has the potential to be the creative engine for the entire university — a creative engine for discovery and innovation.”

The Center for the Arts will provide opportunities for campus and community use with performance venues, hospitality space, a University art gallery, Theatre Department offices, multipurpose classrooms and studios, a multi-use digital fabrication lab, scene design and wardrobe shops and versatile storage spaces.

The performance venue will include a 350-seat theater with state-of-the-art acoustics and technology for music concerts and theater performances, a 100-seat black box theater and a courtyard suitable for outdoor performances and receptions.

“We want the Center for the Arts to be flexible enough to accommodate students for years to come,” special assistant to the president and executive director of advancement Scott Dillard said.

The additional classrooms and labs will serve as a major asset for recruitment and growth for the college. These additional resources will allow UM to add up to 150 students in the arts programs over the next five years. The cross function of disciplines under one roof will provide students with more marketable skills for their future occupations.

Not only will the new Center for the Arts serve to promote integrated thinking within the University, it will also act as an artistic hub for the community.

“With this facility we will be able to create truly immersive experiences in the arts. The audience’s level of participation will be immersion,” Peters said.