“You have just stepped into a dream.” The university community
crossed the threshold to that dream, evoked in the words of WCSU
Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts Dr. Dan Goble, with
the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony held Oct. 17 to mark the
start of construction of Western’s future SVPA Center.
The groundbreaking celebration at the site of
the new building, adjacent to the Westside Campus Center on the
university’s Westside campus, attracted several hundred faculty
members, staff, students and friends from the Danbury community.
Representatives of state government and higher education also
attended the event, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, former Gov. M.
Jodi Rell and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.
“This is about dreams becoming vision and
reality,” Goble said in his remarks at the ceremony. The dean
described the building and the art, music and theatre arts programs
that it will house as a source of cultural and educational
transformation for the school, the university and the region.
135,000-square-foot facility, expected to be completed in 2014, was
designed by an award-winning team of architects and technical
consultants led by the architectural firms of Holzman/Moss/Bottino
and Amenta/Emma. The building will house a 350-seat concert hall, a
350-seat theater, an art gallery, a recording studio and
state-of-the-art rehearsal, classroom and studio art facilities.
decades, many will benefit from what we start today,” said WCSU
President James Schmotter. He noted the project has enjoyed the
support of many governmental and educational leaders including Rell
is a proud moment for me,” said Malloy. At a time of economic
distress, the governor emphasized that the project fulfills a
necessary purpose in both educational and economic terms, providing
new opportunities for arts education and cultural enrichment as well
as significant employment during the construction of the building.
“We must be activists,” Malloy affirmed. “What we need to do is to
make sure we have a higher education system that is second to none.”
Boughton called the groundbreaking “bigger than big,” holding the
promise of a tremendous and lasting impact throughout the region.
“Western is drawing in world-class musicians,” he said. “They will
settle here, raise families here and become part of the fabric of
the community. We have a true partnership between the city and the
university that has elevated the community with theatre arts, and it
will put people to work.”
SVPA Center will bring together Western’s art, music and theatre
arts departments to promote the development of the arts disciplines,
and to advance the emergence of Western as the premier regional
center for cultural and artistic excellence. The university’s
location in Fairfield County places the SVPA in the midst of a
region that is home to many artists and friends of the arts, and
only a short distance from the international artistic and cultural
center of New York City. This proximity also has enhanced Western’s
ability to attract leading professionals in the arts to join the
SVPA faculty, further strengthening arts education at WCSU.
a photo gallery of the ceremony and arts celebration:
Above image: The late afternoon event culminated in a
cabaret-style celebration of the arts inside the Grand Ballroom on
the Westside campus with student performances from the theatre
department, opera ensemble (Cidalia Alves is pictured), the jazz
orchestra, and musical theatre. Student, alumni and faculty artwork
were on display as well.