Emorys much-anticipated performing arts center is taking
shape. The concrete foundation is under waythanks to the
financial base provided by an $8 million gift from Donna and
Marvin Schwartzand the dream shared by the Universitys
arts supporters for decades is scheduled to be fully realized
in the fall of 2002.
near the corner of Clifton and North Decatur roads, the
Schwartz Center anchors the southern end of the Clifton
Corridor, home to many of the Universitys high-tech medical
and research facilities. In a climate where the relevance of
science has never been a matter of debate, the Donna and Marvin
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts will serve as a symbol of
the place and importance of the arts on a university campus,
in a liberal arts education, in a community, and in academic
life, says Rosemary M. Magee, senior associate dean of
Emory College, who has led the planning and organized the fund-raising
effort for the center.
a design derived from the finest European concert halls, performance
is pivotal to the centers mission. Yet the Schwartz Center
will be, first and foremost, a place of learning. Students may
find themselves contemplating creative writing exercises in
one of its general use classrooms, while musicians and dancers
practice scales and steps not far away. This center, the
way we have designed and created it, is based first on the needs
of our academic programs, and the development of artistic disciplines
in the educational arena, Magee says.
$35 million Schwartz Center was designed by Bostons Michael
Dennis in the character of Emorys historic quadrangle
buildings, the work of architect Henry Hornbostel. As the planner
of several buildings on the Carnegie Mellon University campus,
where many of the earlier structures were also designed by Hornbostel,
Dennis brings experience to the drafting table that ensures
architectural continuity for Emorys campus.
superior acoustics throughout, the new center will include an
825-seat concert hall with a choral balcony and orchestra pit,
as well as a smaller instrumental rehearsal hall, practice and
ensemble rooms, a 135-seat lab theatre and a dance studio of
similar size. Glenn Memorial Auditorium will still be the venue
for certain public events, such as the traditional holiday Festival
of Nine Lessons and Carols and organ concerts.
Schwartz Centers concert hall platform will be large enough
to accommodate a full symphony orchestra and will showcase world-class
performances in coming years, Magee says. But the centers
lifeblood will be Emory students, who will fill its spaces with
music and movement each day as they rehearse their crafts.
arts have the unique ability to both invoke and inspire creativity,
and oftentimes that ends up being collaborative creativity among
more than one performer, and more than one discipline,
observes Magee. It can also be a collaborative experience
with the audience. We have tried to relate the centers
public areas and academic areas, and not set up artificial boundaries
between students, faculty, audience, and community, but to reflect
all those constituents.
Schwartz Center will be the centerpiece among several new and
redesigned buildings dedicated to the arts, part of Emorys
overall campus plan. Renovations have already occurred in the
Burlington Road Building and Performing Arts Studio, Mary Gray
Munroe Theater in the Dobbs University Center, and the Rich
Building, all of which will continue to be used in support of
Emorys arts programs. Since 1985, enrollment in arts courses
has more than doubled, and attendance at arts events now exceeds
thirty thousand annually. A recent Emory College curriculum
change now requires an arts component.
recognize that the arts are among the greatest and longest-lasting
products of human civilization, says Emory College Dean
Steven E. Sanderson. Emory is creating a place where the
encouragement and stewardship, the teaching and learning of
the arts can thrive.
Keesler Schwartz graduated from Emory College in 1962, and her
daughter, Elizabeth Jessie Schwartz, is a 1997 graduate of the
decisions in my life Ive given a great deal of thought
to, Donna Schwartz told the exuberant Emory crowd gathered
at the October ground-breaking ceremony for the center. Before
making decisions, I tend to think things over very carefully.
This was one decision that was effortless.P.P.P.