Colleges Invest in the Arts: Milligan building New Arts Center
By Angela Wampler
A! Magazine for the Arts
The Elizabeth Leitner Gregory Center for the Liberal Arts will primarily house Milligan’s drama and photography programs. The college will begin using the facility in January, and the first Milligan drama production is expected to take the stage in April.
Once complete, the 30,000-square-foot arts center will house a 300-seat theatre/auditorium, the necessary backstage support, staging, and a workshop for theatre classes, as well as darkrooms for photography students. The auditorium will be used for the college’s celebrated theatre arts program, Humanities program, academic lecture series, and various other campus community events.
According to Milligan spokesperson Chandrea Shell, a new arts center at the college means that the performing, visual, and communicative arts will continue to flourish in the following ways:
— the acclaimed theatre arts program will move to even higher levels of achievement and performance in a facility that is designed for both beauty and function
— photography and communications students will have state-of-the-art darkroom and classroom facilities in which to develop their artistic talents and skills
— the growing freshman class (Fall 2007 enrollment was a record 1,014) will have better facilities for weekly humanities lectures
— the campus and community will be enriched with cultural opportunities and intellectually stimulating lectures and presentations
Richard Major, who has led the college’s theatre program for more than 20 years, says that the Area of Performing, Visual, and Communicative Arts “represents the vibrancy and spirit of the college itself.”
Milligan’s theatre program has a long history of excellence, earning both regional and national acclaim. Its productions have been featured at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival; and area partnerships have included the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre, the Barter Theatre, and the East Tennessee State University theatre department. In the past 18 years, the Milligan College Theatre for Young Audiences has toured area schools, performing original productions for more than 175,000 children in our region.
The Milligan College Orchestra provides an excellent ensemble experience for Milligan students, as well as students from East Tennessee State University and area high schools, Milligan alumni, and members from the community. Recent notable performances include three world premiers of new compositions. With completion of the new arts center, which includes an orchestra pit, the ensemble anticipates additional opportunities for providing live music for theatre.
The new center provides a state-of-the-art teaching facility for academic excellence. Major concludes, “For the hundreds and thousands of former students who have lovingly labored on artistic endeavors in the college’s past, this new facility fuels our dreams and desires to have a visible sign of these endeavors on our campus.”
Milligan’s master plan calls for a companion building that will attach to the rear of the liberal arts center and to the college’s commons quadrangle. The companion building will be a student center with 30,000-40,000 square feet for a bookstore, activity and study space.
MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs. To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.