Release date: Jan. 17, 2003
Contact: Sally Corbett, Director of Public Relations, Arts,
at 404-727-6678 or

Emory Completes $36.6 Million Schwartz Center for Performing Arts

After two years of construction and nine years of planning the Donna and Marvin Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University will open Feb. 1, 2003. The center opening marks the start of a four-month multidisciplinary festival celebrating the diverse and burgeoning arts programs and series of Emory.

The Schwartz Center adds much to the cultural landscape of Atlanta. Lead architect Michael Dennis created the building in a style reflecting the original Henry Hornbostel architecture at Emory and complementing the Druid Hills environs. Michael Dennis and Associates of Boston led the architectural team in association with Howard-Montgomery-Steger of New Orleans and Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart of Atlanta with theater design services provided by Theater Projects Consultants of Westport, Conn., and construction by Atlanta-based contractor Holder Construction. Acoustical elements throughout the facility were designed by the internationally acclaimed Kirkegaard and Associates of Chicago and Boulder, Colo.

Located at the corner of North Decatur and Clifton roads, the center is easily accessed from the new Allen Family Plaza off Fishburne Drive on campus. The major public spaces are the 825-seat Cherry Logan Emerson Concert Hall with choral balcony and orchestra pit, the Theater Lab for the nurture of innovative theater, and the Dance Studio, which will be a locus of new choreography and dance performance. The center also houses the Hund Box Office Suite, classrooms, artist affiliate studios, theater design classroom, student lounges, the 50 by 65-foot Tharp Rehearsal Hall, practice rooms, Ginden Arts Commons, Branan Seminar Room, Music Studio, Nixon Music Performance Library, and Fox Green Room.

"All of us at Emory are delighted to open the Schwartz Center," said Emory President William M. Chace. "The study, creation and presentation of the performing arts at this new center will further invigorate the cultural life that Emory and Atlanta already enjoy. As we prepare to celebrate the center's opening, I welcome the many supporters who have profoundly influenced the development of the facility, and, thereby, all creative endeavor at Emory."

The center is part of a campus master plan and as the most comprehensive Emory arts venue it serves as a sort of town hall for the "Emory arts village." The center was made possible through funding from Emory University, an $8 million gift from Donna and Marvin Schwartz, and gifts from hundreds of individuals, including faculty, alumni and trustees, as well as numerous corporations and foundations. Donna Schwartz, a 1962 Emory College graduate from New York, and husband Marvin, pledged the lead gift in 1999. In 2001 Atlantan Cherry Logan Emerson, a scientist who earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Emory in 1938 and 1939, provided a multi-million dollar gift to the facility. Also, in 2001 the Kresge Foundation provided a $750,000 matching grant, which was completed in December 2002. Emory will continue to raise funds for center programs through the center's Seat Naming Campaign, which has already received approximately 200 gifts.

"It is gratifying to receive support from so many constituencies, from hundreds of individuals giving at all levels, to foundations, corporations and long-time friends and every member of the board of trustees. This initiative has truly been an effort supported by a broad base of both the Emory and greater communities," says William H. Fox, senior vice president for Institutional Advancement. The campaign, which has the largest and most diverse donor base of any Emory College campaign, was chaired by alumna and trustee Laura Jones Hardman.

"The Schwartz Center is the culmination of collaborations too numerous to name. Dozens of consultants brought to life many, many ideas from faculty, staff and students. The generosity of a wide-range of donors, starting with Donna and Marvin Schwartz, recognized that Emory needed to provide a place for artistic worlds to meet and for creative ideas to be nurtured. The opening of the center is the end of a monumental planning, fundraising and construction effort, but it is only the start of something more meaningful than we can even imagine for artists, scholars, students and the community," says Rosemary Magee, senior associate dean of Emory College and executive director of the Arts Project.

Additional funding is currently being sought for a $1.5 million organ by designer Dan Jaeckel of Minnesota. Space is reserved in Cherry Logan Emerson Concert Hall for the installation of the organ, which will take place during summer and winter semester breaks in 2004 and 2005.

Arts at Emory Mission and Background

Emory is home to a vibrant arts community and welcomes the public to more than 200 annual events featuring student, faculty and guest artists. As many as 80 concerts are performed each year, ranging from presentations by internationally acclaimed artists in the Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series to presentations by more than a dozen Emory music ensembles. Theater Emory, Emory's resident professional theater company, presents productions and readings on an annual basis and boasts the Playwriting Center and biennial Brave New Works series which are headquartered in the Schwartz Center Theater Lab. Emory Dance, Emory Dance Company and Emory Dance On Tour present a diverse season of performances each year.

The campus is home to six major venues for performance, including the Schwartz Center as well as numerous other facilities such as the Michael C. Carlos Museum, the Visual Arts Building and Gallery, Schatten Gallery, and the Heilbrun Music and Media Library. The Schwartz Center administrative team is led by managing director Robert Hunter McKay.

The university's academic departments and programs in the arts include music, dance, theater, creative writing, film, art history and visual arts. The mission for the arts at Emory established in 2001 states that Emory University provides a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment for the study, creation and presentation of the arts.

For information on the Emory arts programs, the Schwartz Center, and Opening Festival, visit and or call the Arts at Emory Box Office at 404-727-5050.



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