Dana Renovation Promotes the Arts


The Dana Arts Center, which was built in 1966, will be renovated this year in an effort to improve the arts on campus.

Jenny Nguyen, Maroon-News Staff

As renovations continue in preparation for Colgate’s bicentennial, another Colgate department is expecting a makeover – the arts.

Dean Lesleigh Cushing explained that the administration is responding to growing interest from all faculties for a renovation of the arts facilities, especially the Dana Arts Center.

She explained that the project aims to increase the visibility of the arts in Colgate’s curriculum.

The initiative is still in its early stages, and at this time no plans have been finalized.

For this academic year, the focus will be on gathering input from students and faculty. A series of open forums and meetings with the Student Government Association is scheduled for the upcoming weeks. Cushing welcomes suggestions from any departments or student organizations that want to be involved, express- ing hope to have a concrete roadmap by the end of the semester.

“It’s a multiple-year process,” Cushing said. “This is just the beginning.”

Renovating the Dana Arts Center is a focus of the project.

Built in 1966, the building now struggles to house the multiple theatrical productions, music classes and dance groups that require the space, the Picker Art Gallery and the Picker’s permanent collection.

Office Assistant for the Theater Department and undeclared theater concentrator junior Rupika Chakraverti said that Dana pro- vides insufficient space to meet students’ needs.

“As much as I love the little quirks of Dana, it really does not suffice,” Chakraverty said. “Not only is scheduling a nightmare, [but] Ryan Studio and Brehmer simply cannot cater to the numbers [they are] required to.”

Cushing said that the renovation initiative will alleviate this stress on Dana. The project will construct multiple new buildings in the area around Dana.

Cushing also explained that a separate part of the initiative will promote the arts in Colgate’s curriculum and encourage the integration of the arts into the social and natural sciences.

The addition of a new Museum Studies minor in 2017 and interdisciplinary programs such as last semester’s “This Place” exhibition are recent steps in this direction.

Additional steps in expanding the arts curriculum at Colgate include the option of concentrating in Film and Media studies as well as the re-evaluation of the Core Curriculum to include more art exposure.

“Everyone should connect more with the arts,”Cushing said. Cushing suggested that students of all majors might benefit from adding elementary arts classes, such as Basic Acting, to their Colgate education.

Arts History concentrator senior Yvonne Sun sees many benefits of an extended art program in the curriculum. “For students of all different fields of studies, taking art classes will help them appreciate the myriad modes of human creative expression across time and place, understand the relationship between self and society and have a clearer recognition of their identity and belief within a global perspective,” Sun said.

This area that’s being renovated is frequently referred to as “middle campus,” and will be seeing more renovations this coming year.

Contact Jenny Nguyen at [email protected]