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New $22M building showcases importance of the arts at Earlham

August 27, 2014

Earlham College is making a bold statement about its commitment to the arts as the 2014-15 academic year begins today.

The College opened the doors to the $22 million Center for Visual and Performing Arts, a 47,200-square-foot complex that is home to the Music, Theatre Arts and Art departments.

“The building increases the profile and visibility of the arts at Earlham,” says Assistant Professor of Music Bill Culverhouse.

The Center features the 250-seat Lingle Recital Hall with acoustic panels designed for music and choral productions; the 100-seat Ronald L. McDaniel Studio Theater, a black-box theater with flexible seating; and the Ronald L. McDaniel Arts Plaza that includes an outdoor performance space.

More than a dozen classrooms and laboratories have also been designed specifically for instruction in ceramics, fiber art, photography, metals, Gamelan, jazz, percussion, painting and drawing. These rooms include the Bonita Washington-Lacey Classroom (music) and Gerald Clarence Cooper Arts Classroom.

“The architects gave us tremendous latitude in designing the building to suit our needs,” says Assistant Professor of Art Walt Bistline. “The other thing we’re really enjoying is for the first time we have all of the faculty from the Visual and Performing Arts on one floor. I can already tell the difference it’s making in collaboration and brainstorming.”

The Center is the latest step forward in Earlham’s strategic plan.

Part of a more than $70 million investment in the future of Earlham’s academic, administrative and athletic facilities, the Center is the first of two new buildings scheduled to open on campus within the next year. The second phase of Stanley Hall, the future home of physics, math, computer science and the Science Center for Integrated Learning, will open in May 2015.

Like other recently renovated buildings on campus, the Center has achieved LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and has a green roof atop the main entrance.

Unlike other academic buildings on campus, the Center’s two-story Birenbaum Arts Atrium is wide open with big red couches, a grand staircase and a fireplace that stretches to the ceiling.

“The building feels very active and alive,” Culverhouse says. “It says, ‘We’re making art. Come in and see what we’re doing.’”

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. Contact him at (765) 983-1256 or zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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