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Construction on the $40 million Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts in the heart of the campus is underway and on schedule, setting the stage for a cross-disciplinary hub that will cater to the University's various art departments.

"Our goal from the outset was to create an atmosphere where the arts become a presence on campus," said Richard Fishman, professor of visual art and director of the Creative Arts Council at Brown. "We wanted something that would be central to the campus on the Walk, close to the Brown community."

Fishman said the 35,000-square-foot center will have "project studios," large spaces containing equipment and technology for various art disciplines. He said there were three such spaces planned — a 2,400-square-foot space and two 900-square-foot spaces. The center will also include support spaces such as a multimedia studio, a recording studio, a robotics studio, art galleries for student showcases and a 200-seat recital hall, he said.

Construction on the center is set to finish in November 2010, Michael Guglielmo, assistant director of project management for the University, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald, noting that classes will be offered in the new space starting the following January. "Construction is currently on schedule," he wrote.

Use of the building's rooms will depend on proposals submitted by faculty and students who wish to gain access to the various available spaces. An executive committee of the Creative Arts Council — consisting of the chairs and directors of each art department and students selected by other students in the creative arts — will review the proposals before granting approval for the requests.

Rhode Island School of Design students and faculty will also have access to the space.

The Creative Arts Council is also providing grants to Brown faculty, Fishman said, to support course development and programs that will optimize the new building space.

The center has been in the works for seven years, Fishman said, though the building's construction only began last May after the University procured the necessary funding. The groundbreaking occurred soon after the Corporation approved naming the center in honor of Corporation member and former Brown trustee Martin Granoff P'93 and his wife, Perry Granoff, for their continued fundraising both for the creative arts and for the University.

The Granoffs are philanthropists and national advocates for the creative arts, Fishman said. They also organized the Brown Hillel campaign that led to the Glenn and Darcy Weiner Center at Brown/RISD Hillel — in 2004.

"The Creative Arts Center will be phenomenal for Brown," Granoff said in a statement before the groundbreaking ceremony in May. "It will bring together the best and brightest students, taught by an extraordinary faculty, and give them a unique architectural environment designed for collaboration, experimentation and excellence in all of the arts."

The Center is designed by the architecture firm Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, the team behind the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. They were selected from a list of candidates because "they understood the program that we wanted about a cross-disciplinary space," Fishman said. "It's a unique place in the country."


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