New Task Force Formed to Improve Performing Arts Facilities


Sasra Hinton

Before students returned to campus, professors and administrators across all divisions and departments came together to start a task force for performing arts facilities. Headed by Professor of Art & Art History Padma Kaimal, the task force is charged with developing a unified and visionary concept for new performing arts facilities with special attention to music, theater and dance, according to President Jeffrey Herbst’s address to the force.

The current facilities available for performing arts lack accessibility and proper sound quality structure, according to some students and faculty. The potential for growth in new facilities has been met with great enthusiasm by the Colgate community.

The task force is composed of professors in departments ranging from history to physics and astronomy, as well as divisions like Alumni Relations. Because the plans are ultimately to serve the student population, students are invited to the forum discussions. 

The task force is consulting external sources, conducting walkthroughs of potential spaces and evaluating similar facilities of other college campuses. 

“Throughout the summer we have spent a lot of time on Gmail, Google Drive and Google Calendar, planning our activities for the fall: regular meetings together; forums to get input from faculty, students, staff and others; consultations with outside experts and eventually, visits to other campuses that have faced similar challenges,” Kaimal said. 

“This initiative is being driven by not only the music and theater departments, but by divisions and departments from all ends of campus. The performing arts change the intellectual climate of campus,” Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy and task force member Jeffrey Bary said.

“What we are looking for is not what isn’t working, but where do we want the performing arts to go on Colgate’s campus. We need a vision to drive us forward and to work towards,” Bary said. 

Improvements and expansion of performing arts facilities seek to attract a broader group of students to Colgate’s campus. The discussion of new performing arts facilities also includes expanding dance programs into an academic department. 

“I think [a dance program and new facilities] have the potential to really shape our campus for the better because the performing arts tend to be overlooked,” junior Grace Tormey said. “Dancefest is the highest attended event of the year, which speaks to the number of people that are involved in and/or support the dance groups on campus.” 

The facility modifications and additions would contribute to the growth of both curricular and extra-curricular performing arts, giving student groups as well as classes more accessible practice and performance areas.

The findings of the taskforce will be reported by March 1, 2014.