Proposed fine and performing arts center receives new push

BLACKSBURG, Va., July 13, 2006 – University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Mark McNamee, has created the “Arts Stakeholder Group” and charged it with guiding the programmatic planning for the proposed fine and performing arts center.

President Charles Steger and McNamee have asked Minnis Ridenour, who prior to retirement was chief operating officer and executive vice president, to chair the group and assist with resource development for the facility and the program.

“We need a senior executive with program and project management experience to pull together the myriad facets of this complex project,” said McNamee. “Minnis will have several responsibilities including leadership of program planning, assisting with fund-raising, and serving as liaison to the budget, planning, business, and administrative units. They will advise executive leadership on the design of the facility and the affiliated academic programs. ”

The Arts Stakeholder Group will assess university needs and scope the project. An important element of the group’s charge will be incorporating classroom and other instructional needs into design considerations.

The group is comprised of the department heads from the programs within the School of the Arts: John Husser, Department of Music; Patricia Raun, Department of Theatre Arts; Truman Capone, Department of Art and Art History; Susan Magliaro, director of the School of Education; Don Drapeau, former head of the Department of Theatre Arts; and Kylie Johnson, director of development for fine and performing arts.

Current visioning calls for a series of performance venues and gallery spaces. “The stakeholders group will help further define scope, focus, timing, and management issues associated with building the foundation for a robust and innovative set of programs,” said McNamee.

“Virginia Tech is one of our nation’s premier universities. Yet, our physical plant lacks an important component of a well-rounded university – a creative arts complex – an important indicator of a university’s ‘quality of life,’” said Ridenour.

Ridenour notes that the Art Stakeholder Group will be the driving force behind the evolution of the new facility. It will include others from the academic community later as the academic year gets underway.

Current state capital planning authorizes a $50 million facility, which will be situated along the Alumni Mall in the vicinity of Shultz Hall. Ridenour says that while the location will not change, the final programming will be determined by the nexus of programming needs and the feasibility of costs. “We need to create an elegant facility and comprehensive program reflective of university needs, but within our ability to finance,” says Ridenour.

Ridenour will assist university fund-raisers in identification and solicitation of major gifts. Private philanthropy will be an important component of the funding mix. Ridenour also will coordinate university efforts with the new Art Museum of Western Virginia located in Roanoke and assist with museum fund development. Virginia Tech faculty members are helping the museum develop outreach educational programming.