Monday, July 1, 2013

Seton Hill University: Dance & Visual Arts Center

Seton Hill University (SHU) is proud to announce the plans for the Dance & Visual Arts Center. The building which is set to be completed by fall 2014, will house classrooms, galleries, and workspace for students studying various visual arts and dance. Groundbreaking for the project will occur later this summer.

The new building will be located on the corner of West Otterman and College Ave, just one block from SHU’s Performing Arts Center. The Dance & Visual Arts Center is being designed by designLAB Architects of Boston, Massachusetts and Balog, Steins, Hendricks & Manchester Architects of Youngstown, Ohio. The general contractor for the project is Wesex Corp, located in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania. 

The 46,000 square foot Dance & Visual Arts Center will also be open to the public for student dance performances and student artwork installations along with guest artists. Many areas of the building will be dedicated to gallery and performance space where both the SHU and Greensburg communities can experience the work of the students. 

"The Dance and Visual Arts Center that Seton Hill University is building in Greensburg's cultural district is a major commitment by the University to current and future students, to the community and to our region.  The Center will provide students with an opportunity to showcase better their talents while bringing to the public a lively artistic place,” said Mary Ann Gawelek, Provost and Dean of Faculty at SHU.

In an interview with the Tribune Review, Robert Miklos, lead architect from designLAB said, ““This is a phenomenal thing: to have this much arts- and community-oriented facilities right in the town of Greensburg.  I have to compliment Seton Hill, because this is really on the cutting edge of what institutions are doing nationally.”

The architects have taken great care to design a space that is very conducive to student learning, community involvement, and aesthetic beauty. The classrooms within the space will be equipped with top of the line technologies for disciplines such as graphic design, pottery, sculpting, wood working, and metal working. The layout of the building will also include an “Art Yard”. This outdoor space will allow students to work in an inspiring environment while simultaneously providing a space for outdoor community events. 

The building itself will take on an industrial-like feel, featuring light-gray metal siding and large windows that will allow those passing by the ability to watch dance students in motion. Some of the building design was inspired by the neighboring Otterbein Methodist Church.

The need for a new building became apparent when students studying dance and visual arts were scattered across the SHU campus and downtown. The new Dance & Visual Arts Center will allow both faculty and students the opportunity to study in one concentrated area. Another goal of the building is to create a strong artistic push within the community of Greensburg.

In addition to dance and visual arts majors, the facility will also be welcoming to all SHU students. “All students are required to take an artistic expression elective as a part of the Liberal Arts curriculum. The new building will create a great space that will make this requirement even more fun. Even though I have already fulfilled the artistic expression credits, I might take a class there anyway,” said Desiree DeClaudio, a junior at SHU.

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