Dartmouth College to Open New Visual Arts Center in September

Dartmouth College announced the naming of its visual arts center in honor of Leon Black, Class of 1973, and his wife Debra, who are contributing $48 million toward the new state-of-the-art visual arts center, opening September 2012. Designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates, the Black Family Visual Arts Center will house the Departments of Studio Art, Film and Media Studies, and the nascent Digital Humanities program. The 105,000-square-foot sustainably designed building will serve as an intellectual and cultural hub in Dartmouth’s new Arts District, which includes the Hopkins Center for the Arts and the Hood Museum of Art, both of which are initiating expansion projects.

Artist’s rendering by Machado and Silvetti Associates, Inc

“This visionary gift recognizes the centrality of the visual arts in our lives and the value of visual literacy for all,” said President Jim Yong Kim. “The work enabled by the Black Family Visual Arts Center—the artistic explorations, interdisciplinary collaborations, and discovery of new ideas and modes of expression—will have a lasting impact on our students and our understanding of the role of the visual arts across disciplines.”

More than one-fourth of Dartmouth students enroll each year in courses in visual art, film studies, and digital humanities, including theory, criticism, and studio classes. The new Black Family Visual Arts Center will include expanded resources for students and faculty alike, including classrooms, faculty offices, an exhibition gallery showcasing student work, a 50-seat screening room, the 243-seat Loew Auditorium (relocated from the Hood Museum of Art), and a shared digital humanities media laboratory. The center will also provide sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture, painting, and drawing studios, as well as cutting-edge film production, animation, and editing spaces.

“Our faculty is already galvanized by the opportunities this new building will create for them and our students,” said Dean of Faculty Michael Mastanduno. “As a creative catalyst for original student and faculty work that can intersect all media and as a recruiting tool for exceptional new faculty, this building is a game-changer.”
Speaking for his family, Leon Black said, “We hope this building fosters creativity among Dartmouth’s students and faculty—that it inspires them to dream big, be courageous, take artistic risks—and infuses them with the life-changing power of the visual arts.”

Architects Machado and Silvetti, whose recent works include the Getty Villa in Malibu, Calif., and additions to Bowdoin College’s historic Walker Art Building, have designed the Black Family Visual Arts Center to promote cross-disciplinary interaction. At the heart of the building will be the Arts Forum, a three-story atrium designed to foster the collegial sharing of ideas among students and faculty and to allow for the presentation of electronic media. An Arts Plaza, featuring a formal lawn and hardscape sculpture terrace, will connect the new center with the Hopkins Center and the Hood Museum, and serve as a gateway from downtown Hanover to the College.

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