2018 is a milestone for the visual and performing arts at Colorado State University: It marks the 10th anniversary of the official opening of the University Center for the Arts.
It was a classic Colorado fall day when the University Center for the Arts celebrated its grand opening a decade ago. Since then, the world-class facility, which houses the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, and the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, has provided space for these CSU entities and students to reach new levels of creativity, excellence and recognition. The UCA has also become a cherished cultural center for Northern Colorado, presenting more than 200 events each year; this year, CSU student tickets remain free, adult tickets are just $10, and the museums are always free.
After a successful decade in the state-of-the-art building, there is much to celebrate, and the festivities kick off with a 10th Anniversary Celebration and Open House on Sunday, Sept. 23, 1-3 p.m. The open house is free and open to the public, however, registration is appreciated: advancing.colostate.edu/UCAOPENHOUSE2018
The event features the University Center for the Arts in action, showcasing performance, studio, exhibition, classroom, design and clinical spaces. Guests will have the opportunity to experience CSU music ensembles, dance classes, theatrical rehearsals, museum programming, technical production workshops, costume fittings, and many other hands-on activities throughout the afternoon.
Attendees are encouraged to enjoy the gardens, bring a blanket and sit on the lawn, and purchase fare from local food trucks parked on site.
“Thousands of patrons attend our events each year, but the open house is intended to give the public an inside look at how the UCA provides a professional environment for our students each and every day,” said Dan Goble, director of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. “This ‘day in the life’ view of the UCA features students engaged in the creative process … from dance to costume construction to jazz to orchestral performance. This is a day not to be missed!”
A commitment to the arts
In the early 2000s, the Office of the President at Colorado State University made the UCA one of its highest priorities because of its importance to performing and visual arts programs, students and faculty. Additionally, the UCA was completed in-part through the leadership and commitment of CSU students, as funding for the building was largely secured through a vote by the student body government to increase student fees. Substantial funding was also provided by private donors, including the Bohemian Foundation, Griffin Foundation, Kenneth and Myra Monfort Foundation, and the Serimus Foundation.
Because of the commitment of so many, the UCA ranks among the finest facilities of its kind in the country.
Among the highlights of the building is the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, which opened in 2009 and expanded in 2016 with six permanent collection galleries and two temporary exhibition galleries, in addition to the Robert W. Hoffert Learning Center and growing sculpture garden. In 2017, the museum joined fewer than 4 percent of museums in the nation to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, making it one of only two in Northern Colorado, and the first in Fort Collins, to receive the distinction.
“2018 marks my first full year at the museum, and I could not be happier to be here, nor more excited about what’s in store,” said Lynn Boland, the Allicar’s director and chief curator. “The facility allows us to present a diverse slate of programs and exhibitions that connect people and ideas in ways that only art can, presenting objects of enjoyment and study for all audiences, while providing hands-on learning for our University’s students.”
A part of the Center since its opening, the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising has also grown over the years. The 2014-2015 expansion provided the Department of Design and Merchandising – part of the College of Health and Human Sciences – with highly functional work areas to enable best museum practices. Equally important are the elegant gathering spaces that make the Avenir a crossroads of inquiry, welcoming students and the regional community for classes, exhibitions and programs.
“It was an extraordinary concept on the part of visionary leaders, both at CSU and among key museum supporters, to recognize the artistry and the global design heritage of the University’s historic textile and apparel collection,” says Doreen Beard, the Avenir’s director of operations and engagement. “Whether the object under study is a CSU T-shirt worn on a recent mission to space, or delicate textile bands made to bind a burial shroud more than 500 years ago, we foster ways in which the realm of clothing and textiles can vibrantly connect people across cultures and centuries.”
Open house activities
Music: The University Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony will take the stage in Griffin Concert Hall, and the Chamber Choir will raise their voices in Runyon Rehearsal Hall. The jazz students will host a jam session in the Instrumental Rehearsal Hall … guests can bring their instrument and sit in! Or they can wish the Casavant Organ a happy 50th with performances by Joel Bacon and organ students in the Organ Recital Hall. The music therapy clinic will host demonstration sessions, and the music technology lab will give guests a chance to create a piece of music on the spot.
Theatre: Visitors will be able to see a live rehearsal of CSU Theatre’s upcoming production of The Laramie Project in the University Theatre, then go across the hall to the Studio Theatre for a reprise performance of Eh, Joe by Samuel Beckett. Guests can stop by the scene shop where students build the set for the next show, then try on a costume in the costume shop (be sure to take a selfie). They’ll be able to design a set in the CAD lab, join an improvisation techniques workshop, or take in a musical theatre workshop led by Broadway veterans Noah Racey and Patty Goble.
Dance: In the University Theatre, visitors can take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Fall Dance Concert with CSU faculty artists Madeline and Matthew Harvey. In the studios, they can experience the joy of movement in open technique classes led by Judy Bejarano and Amber Mazurana, with live accompaniment by David McArthur. Lisa Morgan will give a presentation on how CSU Dance engages with our community, and guests can treat themselves to a stretch and strengthen class with dance Professor Chung-Fu Chang.
The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art will present examples of two popular program series. The Music in the Museum Concert Series, presented in The Hartford-Tandstad Galleries, explores the cross-fertilization between music and the visual arts, offering free concerts by CSU music faculty, accompanied by brief historical background given by faculty from the Department of Art and Art History. Story & Studio at the Museum, a program series for children presented in the Robert W. Hoffert Learning Center, begins with a reading of a storybook chosen to connect with works of art on display in the museum. A hands-on art activity follows, led by art education students.
The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising: Visitors are invited to celebrate the museum’s historic apparel and textiles and see how closely they link to the realms of music, theatre, dance, and the fine arts. They can also try their hand at textile skills such as weaving, stitching and sewing, and enjoy a fascinating, event-only display of the many different types of mannequins the museum uses in its presentation of historic clothing and textiles of many cultures. For example, the body shape of 1850 is very different from 1950, and Peru is a long, long way from Uzbekistan — staff will explain how and why the mannequin matters!
Celebrate by naming a seat
In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the University Center for the Arts, those with a passion for CSU and the performing arts are invited to become part of CSU history by naming a seat in the UCA. With a gift of $250 to a music, theatre, or dance scholarship, the donor’s name will be placed on a seat in the theatre of their choice. Through Name a Seat gifts, the next generation of CSU students can pursue their dreams of artistic and academic excellence. Name a Seat online now at nameaseat.colostate.edu.