Forbes Center Dedication

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the dedication of the new Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia (http://www.jmu.edu).

Forbes Center Dedication, June 4, 2010

Forbes Center Dedication, June 4, 2010

Although it’s a bit far afield in both location and genre from my previous musings on visual arts in the Gateway Arts District the occasion was significant to me for several reasons.  The various effervescent art forms that comprise live performance are fascinating to me, I think art education needs more support as it becomes undervalued in the current economic climate, and, especially, the Forbes Center happens to be named for sister and her husband.

The Forbes Center is divided into two sections with a total of five venues, as well as classrooms, rehearsal spaces, faculty and staff offices, etc.  The Dorothy Thomasson Estes Center for Theatre and Dance has the Proscenium Theatre, the Experimental Black Box Theatre and the Dance Performance Studio Theatre.  The Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance has the Concert Hall and the Recital Hall.


The dedication began on the lower end of JMU’s Quad (the open area in front of Wilson Hall that is considered the center of the campus) near the end of the pedestrian tunnel under Main Street that allows for easy access to the Center.  Apparently the students have dubbed this Quad tunnel the “Quunnel” (which is just my guess as to how it would be spelled).

View of Wilson Hall from the Quunnel

View of Wilson Hall from the Quunnel

A number of speakers praised the new facilities and described the advantages of having new performance, rehearsal and classroom spaces, and thanked the various donors.

Dr. Marilou Johnson, Associate Dean, and Dr. George E. Sparks, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts

Dr. Marilou Johnson, Associate Dean, and Dr. George E. Sparks, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts

Student Speaker - Forbes Center Dedication

Student Speaker

Student Speaker - Forbes Center Dedication

Student Speaker

Speaker - Forbes Center Dedication

Speaker

Dr. Linwood Rose, President of JMU

Dr. Linwood Rose, President of JMU

After the (thankfully) brief speeches everyone went through the Quunnel to the front courtyard of the Center for the unveiling of a plaque and the (purple) ribbon-cutting.

Forbes Center Dedication - Front Courtyard

Front Courtyard - Plaque Unveiling

Forbes Center Dedication - Plaque

The Plaque

Forbes Center Dedication - Ribbon Cutting

Ribbon Cutting - Lois and Bruce Forbes Handle the Scissors

Then we went inside and up to the Grand Lobby, which has beautiful views of Wilson Hall across the Quad, for a tasty, three-course luncheon.

Luncheon in the Grand Lobby
View of Wilson Hall from the Grand Lobby
Three-Course Luncheon

Peggy Vaughan and (my sister!) Lois Forbes

Peggy Vaughan and (my sister!) Lois Forbes

After the meal, along with Bruce and Peggy, I had the pleasure of a tour of the Center given by Dean George Sparks.

The Proscenium Theatre

The Proscenium Theatre

The Concert Hall

The Concert Hall

The Experimental Black Box Theatre

The Experimental Black Box Theatre

The Set Construction Shop

The Set Construction Shop

The Dance Performance Studio Theatre

The Dance Performance Studio Theatre

The Recital Hall

The Recital Hall

What fun!  Almost (but only almost) makes me want to go back to school.

A few more views:

Forbes Center Dedication - Stairway
Forbes Center Dedication

Forbes Center Rear Entrance

Forbes Center Rear Entrance

Larger versions of these and a couple dozen more photos are here at Flickr.


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