Western Connecticut State University in Danbury is home to the only School of Visual and Performing Arts in the Connecticut state university system. Its proximity to New York offers a chance to attract an impressive faculty. Later this month, WestConn will open a new Visual and Performing Arts Center.
WNPR’s Diane Orson spoke with Dean Dan Goble, who said the new building will not only be worthy of the school’s faculty, but offers western Connecticut a chance to redefine its artistic identity.
Dean Goble: The arts, as we know, make place. What I mean by that is it helps define the place in the minds of concert-goers, of art lovers. When people walk into this concert hall, or this theater, or this gallery, they’re going to feel that they’re in a similar type of place that they would be in Manhattan, or any other major arts cultural center.
Diane Orson: Could you give us a quick description of the building?
It's a single facility. Each of the departments have a very distinctive architecturally designed wing of their own. There's an art wing that has really wonderful art studios. That's northern exposed, so the light coming in is the most consistent throughout the day for our art students.
The centerpiece of the theater wing is a 350-seat proscenium theater, which is basically loaded with the latest in technology. Our students will be learning in an environment that is as good as or better than most Broadway houses. Our music wing is really anchored by a 350-seat concert hall with exceptional acoustics. The facility has a recording studio, which is the home of our audio and music production degree. [There's also] a studio theater, which is the traditional black-box type theater.
How about cost?
This is a $97 million project. That includes the programming, design, construction, and all the technology in the facility. Its 130,000 square feet, so its just very exciting.