Creativity unearthed for new BGSU arts center

Groundbreaking celebration for
BGSU Wolfe Center for the Arts set for April 25

BOWLING GREEN, OH.– As communities across the country are turning to the arts for creative solutions to stimulate economic recovery, Bowling Green State University is building creativity into the landscape and jumpstarting the regional economy with plans for a new arts center on campus.

The Wolfe Center for the Arts is the University’s next step in cementing its commitment to the arts and nurturing creativity for a stronger, more vibrant and dynamic community. On Saturday, April 25, at 1:30 p.m., a distinctive, student-focused groundbreaking will be held for the $40 million, 93,000 square-foot Wolfe Center for the Arts. Hundreds of student performers, faculty, staff, alumni and donors will gather to celebrate the beginning of this much-anticipated project.

“The Wolfe Center for the Arts will shine an international spotlight on the arts – one of BGSU’s collaborative areas of excellence,” said Simon Morgan-Russell, dean of BGSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The center will embody a sense of energy and creativity and emphasize the importance of embracing the arts and culture in student development.

“While the Wolfe Center will serve the educational needs of those students majoring in the arts, it will also serve all BGSU students and the entire community in meaningful ways,” Morgan-Russell said.

The Wolfe Center for the Arts embraces student-focused, purpose-built, performance-driven architecture. It has at its very core a unique program that unites a diverse range of art studies into a socially enterprising facility meant to encourage lively interaction among students and faculty alike.

The center will enhance an existing arts corridor on campus and foster creativity and collaboration in the disciplines of theater, music, film, digital arts, design, sound and dance. The generous, technologically advanced space will allow for classes, rehearsals and performances and will also be the new home for the Department of Theatre and Film.

The Wolfe Center for the Arts will be the first American project designed and completed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta. The firm’s international portfolio includes the Oslo Opera House, the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the new cultural center for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the creative team is also working on the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center site in New York City. The Collaborative Inc. of Toledo, Ohio is the associate architect for the project.

The interior amenities, designed in conjunction with Theatre Projects Consultants and Akustiks, both of South Norwalk, Conn., integrate with the architectural design to provide maximum usability and flexibility, while ensuring the technical needs of a 21st-century performance space. High value is placed on the creation of open and democratic places within the design, with a grand, open hall greeting visitors from the main entrance. At the center of it all is the 400-seat Donnell Theater, designed in the style of the great performance halls of New York and London. It will be a gathering place for both students and arts-goers.

“Our communities need a creative and educated population. Access to the arts is an important part of that objective,” said BGSU President Carol A. Cartwright. “Bowling Green State University has been a long-time leader in the arts. This is the next step in BGSU achieving prominence on an international stage.”

“According to Americans for the Arts, ‘the creative industries are the high-octane fuel that drives the information economy, the fastest growing segment of the nation’s economy,’” she added. “As an institution of higher education, it’s our responsibility to keep up with the trends – and make a difference by shaping the leaders of tomorrow.”

Bowling Green State University was established in 1910 and is dedicated to providing quality academic programs in a learning environment that promotes academic and personal excellence in students. The Wolfe Center for the Arts was one of the major initiatives included in the successful Building Dreams Centennial Campaign for BGSU. More than $146 million was raised, including $2.8 million for the arts center, during the six-and-a-half-year fund-raising campaign.

A state-assisted, residential university, BGSU has an enrollment of more than 20,000 students and offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and programs. At the center of the University's academic community are nearly 900 full-time faculty members who are engaged in teaching, research and scholarship activities.

The University is situated on a 1,338-acre campus, which includes 116 buildings. It is located 23 miles south of Toledo, Ohio.

For additional information and renderings of the Wolfe Center for the Arts click here.

EDITOR’S NOTE FOR OHIO MEDIA: In Ohio, arts and culture industries generate more than $25 billion each year resulting in more than 231,000 jobs. Additionally, BGSU will contract more than a hundred skilled workers and trades people during construction of the Wolfe Center for the Arts and will train generations of students for the state’s creative economy. The complete news release about the impact of the arts and culture in Ohio is available at http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/monitor/04-06-09/page64869.html.

Media Contact:
Lynnette J. Werning, APR
President
Blue Water Communications
Lynnette@BlueWaterCommunications.biz

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(Posted April 22, 2009 )