Numerous new studios for art, dance and music students; light-filled art galleries; a catwalk connecting offices and classrooms on the second floor; and a spectacular front entrance are among the striking changes visitors will find in Wright State University’s renovated and expanded Creative Arts Center.
The College of Liberal Arts will celebrate the completion of the Creative Arts Center’s two-year modernization and expansion project with an open house on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The event will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the university’s talented fine and performing arts students. Visitors will get to see students at work in their fine arts, modern dance and acting classes, as well as during wind symphony and university chorus rehearsals.
“We are so excited at the completion of the modernization and expansion of the Creative Arts Center as we finally have the facilities that match the productivity and success of our excellent students, faculty and staff,” said Kristin Sobolik, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Our fine and performing arts programs are the foundation of our designation as an Ohio Center for Excellence in the Arts. We welcome the community to come and experience these stunning facilities and what our students showcase.”
The first thing visitors will notice when they approach the Creative Arts Center (CAC) is its new iconic, accessible entrance. The addition to the building symbolizes the excellence of the university’s arts programs and makes the building standout on campus.
“The arts programs are one of the flagship parts of the university, and they need to have a building that’s also distinctive,” said Linda Caron, associate dean for faculty and external affairs in the College of Liberal Arts.
Visitors can approach the entrance by traveling up a long grand walkway. Nearby steps and benches provide places where students and faculty can sit and work.
The front of the building also features a stunning wall of dichroic glass fins that change color based on the angle of the sun. “Every day you drive by and it’s different,” Caron said.
Inside the Creative Arts Center, the Commons has been refurbished with spaces filled with comfortable furniture where students can study, talk and collaborate.
The second floor features a catwalk that connects the art, music and theatre wings, making it easier to navigate the building. Hanging over the middle of the Commons is the Lily Pad, a lounge filled with comfortable furniture where students can work together or socialize. Two new computer labs are available with stage design technology and computerized piano software.
The shared areas are designed to increase interaction between students and faculty in art, music, dance and theatre. “Co-labs and the Lily Pad belong to everybody,” Caron said.
A new multifunctional dance studio — featuring performance-level sprung flooring and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows — is used daily for courses in ballet, modern and jazz. It can also be converted to a dance performance space with specialized lighting, audience seating and dressing rooms. A Pilates studio is equipped with reformers, ballet barres and dance injury equipment.
Being able to use the studio as a performance venue gives the Dance Program the flexibility to schedule additional performances and guest artist appearances. The program plans to offer new courses and expand the program and the number of dance majors.
The Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries now feature five airy, light-filled gallery spaces where visitors can enjoy rotating exhibitions as well as dedicated spaces for the Galleries Permanent Collection and the Stein Collection, which the Stein family donated to Wright State as part of their generous gift to the galleries.
The centerpiece of the Stein Collection is “Red on Pink on Yellow-Orange,” a vibrant painting by the influential American artist Mark Rothko. Previously in storage, the painting is one of about a dozen pieces from the Stein Collection currently on display.
“This is its permanent home, so people can come and enjoy the Rothko,” said Tess Cortes, gallery coordinator of the Stein Galleries.
Thanks to a new vault the galleries can properly store 2-D works from their collection, helping to ensure it lasts indefinitely.
The Department of Art and Art History offers students a digital photography lab with state-of-the-art computers and printers. The department also expanded its painting, printmaking and photography studios and opened two new drawing studios and a dedicated screen-printing studio. Multiple critique spaces are now available throughout the CAC where fine art students can display their works for formal and informal critique sessions.
The art department’s main office was moved from the second floor, where it was difficult to find, to a prominent public space on the first floor.
Wright State Theatre’s new movement/stage combat studio can also function as acting classroom and rehearsal space. Special flooring was installed in the studio to support the teaching of stage combat.
A series of classrooms and studios were refurbished or expanded for sound production, costuming, voice practice, theatre graphics and stage management.
The Directing Lab, which serves as both a rehearsal and performance space and a classroom, was renovated and outfitted with new seating.
The School of Music built new soundproof practice rooms, including a percussion studio, in which students can better hear themselves play and correct mistakes more easily. Previously, the percussion students didn’t have a dedicated place to rehearse.
“They’re really excited about this, and I think everyone else is excited for them to have a soundproof space,” Caron said.
Sobolik praised the work of College of Liberal Arts faculty and staff on the project, noting that its completion owes much to the vision, hard work and dedication of Caron, who oversaw all aspects of the project, as well as Randy Paul, chair of the School of Music; Glen Cebulash, chair of the Department of Art and Art History; and Stuart McDowell, artistic director of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures.
Destination Art events
The College of Liberal Arts is celebrating the modernization and renovation of the Creative Arts Center and the opening of the Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures through a yearlong series of programs called Destination Art. These various events are designed to celebrate the CAC and to call attention to Wright State and the CAC as a community resource for the fine and performing arts. Events include:
Nov. 9: Open House, Creative Arts Center, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Dec. 3: ArtsFair, Creative Arts Center, 9 a.m.-noon
Feb. 6-17: Sol Lewitt Installation and Lectures, Stein Galleries
March 31: Design Tech Portfolio Exhibit, Creative Arts Center, 4-7 p.m.
April 8: ArtsGala, Creative Arts Center, 6:30 p.m.-midnight
April 20: Dance Concert, Festival Playhouse, 7 p.m.