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(l-r) Director of Facilities Ian Smith, Shiel Sexton representative Mike Dilts, Boora Architects principal Amy Donohue, Associate Professor of Music Forrest Tobey, President David Dawson, Art major Marcela Pardo ’13, capital campaign chair and Board member John Loose, and Board Chair Deborah Hull ’67 turn the ceremonial first spades of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

College Breaks Ground on New Center for Visual and Performing Arts

February 08, 2013

Members of the Earlham College student body, faculty and staff joined President David Dawson and Board of Trustees Chair Deborah Hull '67 for a short ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony at noon on Fri., Feb. 8, 2013 for Earlham's Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

The center, which will be located south of Runyan Center, will provide studio and classroom space for drawing and painting, ceramics, photography, metalwork and weaving; practice rooms and an intimate recital hall for vocal and orchestral music, and a black box theatre. In addition, the center will have a dedicated space for the College’s Javanese gamelan ensemble. Runyan Center's Wilkinson Theatre will continue to be used for mainstage theatrical productions.

Shiel Sexton will act as construction managers on the $21.9 million project, assisted by local firm Whisenhunt Construction, which will help recruit local labor.

Boora Architects of Portland, Ore., designed the space.

“Art enacts unexpected possibilities,” said President Dawson in his remarks at the ceremony, shortly after thanking the Earlham trustees for voting to move the project forward. “This building wasn’t expected and it wasn’t thought possible. We should never believe that the past proscribes the future.”

Visit the construction website

Visual and Performing Arts

The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, which was announced to a shocked — and jubilant — campus at Dawson’s inauguration in Oct. 2011, is the latest construction project in an ambitious $62.3 million investment in the Earlham physical plant. A renovation of the science facilities in Stanley Hall and a complete transformation of Tyler Hall are underway. Additionally, Darrell Beane stadium has been renovated and construction will begin shortly on Randal Sadler Stadium, a new baseball facility. Immediately upon completion of the Stanley Hall renovation, the Board of Trustees has directed the College to begin construction of new science facilities for physics, mathematics and computer science to be completed by August 2015.

“Our decision is to do whatever is required to offer arts and science facilities that enable the forms of pedagogy and scholarship demanded by those disciplines in the 21st century,” said Dawson in an address to the campus last fall. “This is a sign of the seriousness with which we regard the quality and integrity of our academic program and the level of our commitment to innovating as the movement of knowledge requires.”

“Earlham students have been eagerly awaiting new facilities for the arts,” notes Alison Warren ’06, assistant director of annual giving. “The Senior Gifts of the Classes of 2011 and 2012 both included designated funds for the arts. 

Warren notes that the Class of 2011 Senior Gift included funds for construction. The Class of 2012 gift is earmarked to create an outdoor meditation space by the center.

Actual construction on the project begins in March 2013 and Earlham expects that the center will be completed in approximately 16 months.

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