A New Home for the Performing Arts

Visiting dance professor Michael Morris with class in Doane Dance studio.
Visiting Professor and Chair of Dance, Michael Morris, working with a movement class in Doane dance studio.View Photos

With stellar faculty and programs, and deep connections to the lively arts scene in nearby Columbus, Denison attracts students who value the arts. We nurture our students’ interests through personal attention, countless opportunities to create and to participate, and of course, our very rich curricular offerings in music, theater, dance, cinema, art history, studio art, and creative writing. 

Denison’s studio arts facilities are outstanding, housed in the Bryant Arts Center, which underwent an exciting renovation and expansion a few years ago, and Denison’s Cinema House on the Fine Arts Quad provides exceptional opportunities for students in the Department of Cinema. Now the performing arts—music, dance, and theatre—are about to take up residence in a state-of-the art new home on campus, with construction of the Eisner Center for the Performing Arts, which will open its doors in Fall 2018.

Professors and students alike are excited about new opportunities on the Fine Arts Quad—and across campus.

The Eisner Center for the Performing Arts under construction

The arts at Denison are thriving,” says Ching-chu Hu, professor of music and chair of the department. “There are so many opportunities for students to participate and excel.” 

The Eisner Center allows us to think about the programming of theatre, dance, and music collectively,” says Associate Professor and Chair of the Theatre Department Mark Evans Bryan ’96. “The faculty can support one another in new ways; and, perhaps most importantly, students will rub shoulders daily with people who think and work in different ways. And they’ll be able to collaborate with one another, with the faculty, and with professional artists visiting our campus.”

Students are exposed to artists who come into Columbus and who live in Columbus,” says Sandra Mathern Smith, professor of dance. “This is a space that supports, and honors, and encourages, and celebrates.”

Our students have an evidenced appetite for integrating the arts into academics and everyday life,” says Sharon Martin, class of 1965. She and her husband, Lanny, made a significant lead gift that launched the fundraising effort and inspired other donors to join in and make the new facility a reality. “The performing arts have the power to foster empathy across differences, to inspire our deepest and truest expressions of belief, and to reacquaint us with the power of our own imaginations.” 

The college’s devotion to art and community does not just live on campus, says Hu. Denison engages with the world through creativity by bringing artists to campus and taking the arts into the surrounding area through performances, partnerships, and shared spaces, like the Denison Arts Space in Newark. “The performing arts, because they’re openly displayed, are a gateway to the college for the community and vice versa,” says Hu. “It allows us to come together for a shared experience. That’s powerful.”

Denison has become a top liberal arts college for arts students who don’t want a conservatory,” says President Adam Weinberg. “We have huge strengths across our arts academic departments, and through a myriad of student organizations. Students can pursue interests in music, dance, theater, studio art, art history, museum curation, improv comedy, cinema, creative writing, and a range of other artistic endeavors. And our proximity to Columbus gives students opportunities well beyond what many colleges can offer.”

October 5, 2017