University News

Community celebrates arts center

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 11, 2011

Students performed a scene from “Pippin” at the Granoff Center’s dedication ceremony last night.

About 350 attendees explored the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at its dedication ceremony last night, taking in the wide variety of student artwork — incorporating visual art, sound, video, dance and sculpture — that adorns the latest addition to the campus.

The building — which has been open for classes since Jan. 26 — will not be host to any one department, but will “manifest new modes of dialogue between different disciplines,” said Richard Fishman P’89, director of the Creative Arts Council and a professor of visual art, who has championed the building since long before it existed.

The building was entirely donor-funded, Ronald Margolin, vice president for international advancement, told The Herald.

The fundraising goal was $52 million — $38 million for construction, $2 million for program development, and $12 million for an operating endowment — and a total of $60 million was raised.

“Creativity and innovation are inextricable,” Rocco Landesman, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, told the audience during his keynote address. “What I love about the building are the unexpected adjacencies.”

“This place makes me want to sing,” Fishman said.”The development of the Granoff Center has been brought about by a powerful yet simple principle — that when we share our intellectual capital and our resources, we can achieve something quite different than that which we can do alone.”

“It’s a gift that will nurture the creative minds of students for years to come,” Fishman said.

“Tonight, to me, is about love,” President Ruth Simmons said. “Richard Fishman had an idea and couldn’t let go of it.”

As a new experimental space, the Granoff Center will be an invitation for both success and failure, Landesman said. But “failure

is the key to innovation,” he said. “When failing is fun, its okay to try again.”

Interdisciplinary pursuits are often given leftover spaces — “hand-me-downs,” said Elizabeth Diller, a principal from the architecture firm behind the building, Diller, Scofidio & Renfro. Like others, she celebrated the creation of a space dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration. “Everything here is about in-betweenness,” she said. “It’s yours, and we can’t wait to see what comes out.”

Several of the speakers made reference to the relationship between the experimental nature of the New Curriculum and the experimental nature of the Granoff Center. “We have created something together that could only take place at Brown,” Fishman said.

Several scenes from Sock & Buskin’s fall 2010 production of “Pippin” were performed, as well as two classical music pieces. “It’s a lovely new space,” Meredith Mosbacher ‘11.5, one of the actors, told The Herald. “There are so many possibilities for it.”

“It was very emotional for me,” Fishman’s son, Harris Fishman ’89, told The Herald after the ceremony. “For (Richard) to be here this day with this building, it was very powerful.”

“I feel really thrilled,” Perry Granoff P’93 told The Herald. “I thought this was an amazing ceremony.”

“The laboratory has been created, and now the fun part begins,” said Martin Granoff P’93.

“Seeing all that creativity made you think differently,” Simmons told The Herald after the event. “If a building can have energy, this one certainly has it.”