VIRGINIA BEACH — Virginia Wesleyan University recently celebrated the grand opening of its Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Guests explored the 23,200-square-foot facility, viewed the inaugural exhibition from the Chrysler Museum, and watched performances by the Virginia Symphony and Wesleyan’s music and theater departments, VWU officials said.
VWU President Scott D. Miller welcomed guests to the dedication, noting the university’s plan was “to create the most comprehensive facility of its kind on campus to educate future generations of accomplished leaders in the fine and performing arts.”
He thanked architects Tymoff & Moss, civil engineers MSA P.C., Chesapeake Bay Contractors, and Hourigan for bringing the design concepts “to exciting reality.”
Located near the main entrance of campus, the Goode Center is named for Virginia Wesleyan trustee and nationally recognized arts philanthropist Susan S. Goode, an active member of the Virginia Wesleyan Board of Trustees and namesake of the university’s Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities.
“We are indebted to the Goodes for their generosity, their kindness, their friendship, and their many contributions to our community,” Miller said during the dedication. “Many colleges have missions of the liberal arts. Many aspire to build a wonderful home for their theatre, music, and visual arts programs. The Goodes have given us the inspiration for enriching and expanding the arts tradition of Virginia Wesleyan University, and for that we say thank you.”
Made possible by sustained fundraising efforts, the facility features the glass-enclosed Eleanor and Henry Watts Grand Lobby and Gallery and the 325-seat Joan and Macon Brock Theatre. Support spaces ring the stage, including a scene shop, dressing rooms, green room, costume, prop, and equipment storage.
A plaza for outdoor programming overlooks the Susan Beverly Grand Terrace and Pond.
“If the arts nourish the soul and education feeds the mind,” Miller said, “it is these distinguished patrons who have sustained Virginia Wesleyan’s journey in years past and yet again, tonight. Their generous gifts are succeeded only by their informed devotion to our mission, concern for our students and faculty, and wise counsel when we have needed it the most.”
A highlight of the evening March 30 was the premiere of “There Will Be Stars Over This Place Forever,” a work commissioned by David Goode in honor of his wife and the building opening. Composed by Joshua Harris, the piece was performed by the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Wesleyan Camerata and led by conductor Bryson Mortensen.
“There will be stars over this place forever’ is an exciting piece to premiere as part of the dedication of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center,” Mortensen noted. “The text chosen for the piece almost sounds like a blessing on the Center itself, and Joshua Harris included so many musical elements that give the piece a sense of place. It is an honor to conduct this new work at such an important event.”
The Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center is only the first phase of a new arts complex at Virginia Wesleyan.
The university also expects to renovate studio spaces and classrooms in the existing Fine Arts Building, VWU officials said. These updates, coupled with the new construction and additional planned expansion, will enhance the University’s fine and performing arts facilities and showcase the prominence of Virginia Wesleyan’s arts program to the community.
“The fine and performing arts are central to the tradition of liberal arts education, which is the cornerstone of our Virginia Wesleyan mission,” Miller said. “The arts nurture our spirits, inspire awe and amazement, and inform our collective humanity with beauty and truth. They reflect the possibilities of human creativity, challenging us to explore fully what it means to be enlightened and invigorated. May this new center accomplish all of that and more.”
The Goode Center’s spring 2019 season opens with acrobatic dance troupe Aura CuriAtlas on April 1 and the VWU production of “Legally Blonde the Musical” from April 11-14. Learn more here.