Through the arts, a life lived is lived fully. The arts touch all people and must be an everyday experience. As they explore the arts, students develop a deeper understanding of the human experience, one that enriches their lives as adults. A well-rounded and well-educated individual is literate in the arts. Arts literacy informs the world around us — the arts have always played a role in creating cultures and building civilizations. The arts are deeply connected to all academic subjects and are, in fact, the foundation for academic study.
The arts enhance the learning process, making artistic connections in English, history, math, science and world languages — all of which makes education exciting and accessible, helping students discover the artist within. The arts must be practiced and celebrated every day.
Unfortunately, our facilities are inadequate and the physical space simply does not meet the demands of the current program or future programs. The arts program cannot grow physically — we are limited in expanding the arts curriculum and programming. It is impossible to imagine creating a weekend guest artist series, art exhibitions, artists-in-residence programs, or summer arts conservatory with the School’s current facilities.
Students are now crowded into unsuitable spaces —located in inconvenient places — and must constantly travel from one building to another. Ceramics is taught in a maintenance shed; photography is taught in the former chapel; studio art is taught in a detached shed; music and theater are taught in the former athletic building. There are physical constraints to the number of students in any given arts class as well as to the expansion and growth of the program.
The solution is clear — the school must build a new Arts Center.
This Center would centralize the arts program in a state-of-the-arts facility. Both students and faculty would learn and share from each other every day. The Center would be a place for ideas and creativity, encouraging daily conversation and dialogue among student actors, designers, dancers, musicians, singers and visual artists as they experience first-hand the growth and development of their fellow artists. The Center would be a laboratory for students to learn and create in together, strengthening relationships, understanding, and respect among their peers.
Using the existing footprint of the former athletic center plus an open area on the west side, the new Arts Center will total 30,000 square feet. The proposed stone and clapboard structure sits on a central location on campus, commanding views out to the surrounding hills. It has a projected cost of $8,350,000, including a 350-seat proscenium theater with a fly loft, 100-seat black box theater, and 80-seat amphitheater; an art gallery; three art studios for ceramics, painting, drawing, photography and film; two music studios equipped with instrument storage and practice rooms; two multipurpose music, dance and rehearsal rooms; a dance studio; dressing rooms; a green room; and costume and prop shops with a fully-equipped scene shop.
The Arts have been an integral part of the Marvelwood program since the School’s founding, with our students actively engaged in both the performing arts and visual arts. They perform in musicals and plays; they play in the jazz band, sing in the choir, and play in the string ensembles. Students create paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpture and photography, and exhibit their works in the classrooms and hallways. They are constantly creating art and making connections with the world around them through their art.
Imagine the Arts Center as the place on campus that brings students and faculty together to celebrate dance, film, music, theater and visual arts — a place to congregate and to develop. Imagine the art gallery with exhibitions of recognized local and national painters, ceramicists and photographers throughout the year, as well as installations of fabric arts and filmmakers and annual exhibits of student art. Add student poetry slams, performance art, and dance performances in the amphitheater; 24-hour play festivals, classical and contemporary plays and musicals in the theater; and chamber music and piano recitals onstage and in the art gallery. Visualize space for students to practice violin, cello, trumpet, voice and composition in private studios. Think about the excitement of a yearly schedule of performances, presenting national artists that include dance companies, cabaret singers, pianists, string quartets and theater companies; and summer theater and musical conservatories, national playwriting festival and dance residencies. Add an annual arts festival on Skiff Mountain.
The Arts Center will be an arts center for Litchfield County. Programming will be open to the public for cultural events such as concerts, dance, festivals, films, lectures, plays and staged readings. The Arts Center will artistically engage the greater community in both producing and presenting. Marvelwood is committed to taking a leadership role in the arts for Litchfield County, and our arts faculty and staff is committed to creating relationships and programs with the greater community. This will be an interdisciplinary home for the arts, creating a gathering place for people of all ages to experience the arts.
The Arts have never been more important to Marvelwood and to our society. The world of tomorrow belongs to those who are imaginative problem solvers, who can create intellectual property, and who infuse the passion of play into the meaning of work. Art informs life on the deepest of levels.
Join with us in support of an initiative to create an Arts Center at Marvelwood. The Center will be home to the fine arts, theatre, dance and music on the mountain, will define our place in the northwest corner, and will connect us powerfully to our neighbors. With your support, Marvelwood will enrich its present, secure its future and continue to transform the lives of our students.
Throughout Marvelwood’s history, members of our community have given generously to help the School grow and develop into an exceptional institution. Such strong financial support is critical to making the Arts Center a reality for our community of learners. The construction of an Arts Center will enhance the School’s performing and visual arts programs as well as allow for the creation of weekend and seasonal programming that will include performing guest series, art exhibitions, and summer arts programs. A new Arts Center will allow for a greatly strengthened signature arts program.
The Marvelwood Arts Center will be a focal point for student and community activities, bringing families together to experience the arts. Art nourishes our souls, balances our daily lives, and asks us to pause and reflect. The Arts Center will provide program excellence in the performing arts, visual arts, and arts education through an interdisciplinary approach. It will create Magic on the Mountain.