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Anonymous Challenge Gift To Provide $5 Million For Arts Grounds At U.Va.; Goal Is To Encourage SupportFor Building Projects

April 26, 2002-- The University of Virginia has received a $5 million challenge gift from an anonymous donor to encourage support for the Arts Grounds, a proposed complex of new and expanded facilities for the University’s arts programs.

Aimed at spurring completion of individual projects in the proposed arts district, the gift will create the Arts Grounds Challenge Fund. The fund will match contributions of up to $1 million from other donors for any facility envisioned for the Arts Grounds, including theaters, recital halls, galleries and teaching studios within the new and renovated buildings.

Centered on Carr’s Hill, an area northwest of the University’s Rotunda and other Jeffersonian structures, the Arts Grounds will encompass new buildings for the University of Virginia Art Museum, the McIntire Department of Music and the studio art program, as well as a new comprehensive arts library and a new performing arts center.

Major additions and renovations are planned for Campbell Hall, which houses the School of Architecture, and for the Drama Building. Fayerweather Hall, a 19th-century gymnasium that now houses the McIntire Department of Art, will be restored and reconfigured to accommodate the art history program. At the center of the complex will be the Arts Common, an open space that includes an outdoor theater on the north slope of Carr’s Hill.

"This gift represents an extraordinary commitment to our vision for the future of the arts," said University President John T. Casteen III. "The Arts Grounds Challenge Fund will provide a powerful incentive for other benefactors to take part in this effort. It represents a significant step toward establishing a new center of creative and intellectual activity that can be shared by all who love the arts."

Developing the Arts Grounds is one of the goals outlined in U.Va.’s Virginia 2020 long-range planning process. This gift will advance a major fund-raising effort for the complex, which will be financed with a combination of state support, private contributions and institutional resources. With the addition of the Arts Grounds Challenge, the University has received more than $19 million for the Arts Grounds, which is expected to cost $200 million.

By improving and enlarging the facilities now available for the University’s arts programs, the Arts Grounds will enable more students to take courses in the arts and to make the arts an integral part of their experience at the University, Casteen added. The new complex also will promote creative collaborations among artists in different fields by bringing all of the University’s fine and performing arts programs to the same area.

It is expected to become a major hub of University and community life. In addition to performance spaces for music and theater and galleries for exhibiting works of art, the Arts Grounds will include a café and other public areas where students, faculty, and arts patrons can gather before and between arts events. The complex also will encompass a 500-space parking garage and will be within walking distance of other parking facilities.

"As part of our Virginia 2020 long-range planning process, we intend to elevate our arts programs to world-class status," Casteen said. "At present, we have exceptionally talented students and faculty who are constrained by the limitations of their facilities. Completion of the Arts Grounds will provide an environment that inspires creative and collaborative work and that will make this work accessible to wider audiences."

By encouraging support for projects in all areas of the arts, the Arts Grounds Challenge Fund will be "a catalyst for achieving great things," Casteen continued. "We are grateful for the leadership and imagination demonstrated through this generous gift."


For follow up interviews on the project contact: Robert C. Chapel, chair of the Virginia 2020 Planning Commission for the Arts and chair of the drama department, at (434) 924-3327; Samuel "Pete" Anderson, University architect, at (434) 924-6015. Fund-raising questions can be directed to Charles B. Fitzgerald, associate vice president and director of development, at (434) 924-3245. Digital image of Arts Grounds model available by request call Sally Barbour in the U.Va. News Office at (434) 924-7116.



Visual Arts

University Art Museum

Due to insufficient gallery space, the University Art Museum currently can display less than 5 percent of the 10,000 objects in its collection. The new facility’s climate-controlled galleries will enable the museum not only to show more of its own holdings but also to borrow major works from other institutions. In addition, the museum will be able to expand its educational and public outreach programs, including activities for area schoolchildren.

Restored Fayerweather Hall

Built in the late 19th century as a gymnasium, Fayerweather Hall will be restored and reconfigured to house the Art History program. The neoclassical structure will provide new offices for faculty and graduate assistants, an archaeology study facility, new meeting and seminar rooms, and space for the storage and retrieval of art slides and other visual resources.

Studio Art Building

An entirely new building will be constructed for the Studio Art program, whose classrooms and faculty are currently dispersed among several buildings on the central Grounds. The building will bring all members of the program to one location and will include gallery space for exhibiting work by students, faculty and visiting artists. For the public, it will be a showcase for new directions in contemporary art.

School of Architecture Expansion

The School of Architecture has more than doubled its enrollment since moving into Campbell Hall 30 years ago. To provide additional space for studios, classrooms and faculty offices, the school is planning major additions to the building as well as the renovation of existing facilities. The school’s landscaped areas will be reconstructed to include new entrances from the proposed Arts Common and from Rugby Road.

Performing Arts

Music Building

The McIntire Department of Music will move from its cramped quarters in Old Cabell Hall to a new building on the Arts Grounds. The structure will provide acoustically isolated classrooms, much-needed rehearsal space and a recital hall with flexible seating for large and small performances. The building also will contain state-of-the-art facilities for the Virginia Center for Computer Music.

Drama Building Expansion

Supporting the Department of Drama, the Heritage Repertory Theatre and the Virginia Film Festival, the Drama Building will be enlarged to provide more performance, studio and instructional space, as well as offices for faculty and graduate students. Classrooms will be soundproofed, and scenery and costume shops will be equipped with new technology to train students in computer-aided design.

Performing Arts Center

The new performing arts center will contain a concert hall with 1,200 to 1,500 seats, as compared with the 850 seats now available in Old Cabell Hall auditorium. The facility will include wings, backstage areas and other features necessary for the production of dance, theater, musical theater and perhaps opera. The concert hall will provide an expanded venue for the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra and other Music Department ensembles, and it will make concerts by major visiting artists accessible to larger audiences.

A Comprehensive Arts Library

The intellectual heart of the Arts Grounds will be a new facility that combines the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library with the Music Library. Accommodating ever-growing collections of books, journals, musical scores, CDs, audiotapes, and digital resources, the library will contain computerized systems for recording and storing images of art and architecture, for experimenting with sound, and for creating original musical arrangements and compositions.

The Arts Common

Several of the buildings on the Arts Grounds will open onto the Arts Common, a central green space where artists, art students and arts patrons will continually cross paths. Taking advantage of the natural topography, the Arts Common will include an outdoor theater built into the north slope of Carr’s Hill. Unlike the traditional Greco-Roman amphitheater, this open-air space will be a more subtle feature in the landscape, comprising terraces of grass and trees that take form naturally from the terrain.

Vehicular Access and Parking

Under the new configuration, vehicles will no longer enter the Carr’s Hill arts district from Rugby Road. Rather, they will enter from University Avenue, turning onto a street that runs to the west of the Drama Building and the School of Architecture. It will lead to an arrival court for dropping off passengers, as well as a 500-space parking garage. The Arts Grounds will be within easy walking distance to the Emmet Street parking garage adjacent to Memorial Gymnasium and to parking lots at University Hall.

Contact: Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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