Joseph Abrams ’23
The long-awaited and highly anticipated Prior Performing Arts Center is set to open during the Community Day event beginning at 1 p.m on Sept. 24. In this opening event, community members will be able to tour the 84,000 square-foot arts center consisting of the Luth Concert Hall, the Boroughs Theater and the Iris B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery.
The Prior Performing Arts Center will become a hub of the arts community at Holy Cross as it creates a centralized space for this facet of the liberal arts education.
“As an arts student, I’m ecstatic about the opportunity for myself and other students to be able to use the facility,” Ari Kiiriiki, a second-year music major, said. “The new theater, art gallery, and recording studio provide arts students of any concentration a brand new space to create.”
According to the College’s webpage regarding the new center, the building’s opening “catalyzes transformational exchange between the arts and other disciplines. Here, inclusive learning and research are supported by state-of-the-art performance, multimedia, and exhibition technology, as well as by architectural elements promoting flexibility, collectivity, and process.”
Specifically, the performing arts center will include “The Beehive”—a space for flexible workspaces and performance—at its center. Extending from the heart of the building are the Studio Theater, the Multipurpose Theater and spaces designated to Art/Media as well as Practice/Production. The Luth Concert Hall will serve as a performance venue for music, dance and theater performances. The Boroughs Theater will serve as a smaller, more flexible performance space with 200 seats, compared to the Luth Concert Hall’s 400 seats. In line with the artistic nature of the building itself and its purposes, the architects also created spaces for creative reflection with meditative gardens.
Since 1983 the Iris B. Gerald Cantor Art has featured exhibitions intended to students and staff to artistic beauty. The permanent collection now has over 1,000 pieces from a wide range of artistic styles and historical periods. Each year the gallery also features the senior seminar theses of graduating art majors and acquires loan exhibitions throughout the year. Along with its history and exhibitions, the Cantor Art gallery will find its new home in the Prior Performing Arts Center.
The first installation in the gallery’s new location is “The Travelers” by alumna Justine Hill. Hill’s painting consists of twelve canvases of ambiguous shapes resembling the moon, feet, a boat and a night sky. The installation covers the wall across from the window space at the building’s entrance—the piece can already be seen inviting visitors in while walking past the new building on campus.