Construction on the Martin Center for the Arts is in full swing. Anita DeAngelis, director of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, shared an update on construction, which began in fall 2017.
“Construction is moving forward, and my staff is working behind the scenes to develop policies and guidelines for using spaces within the building,” said DeAngelis. “There is a lot to consider in order to be prepared to host multiple events and host guests in a new building.”
Plans for opening day are in the early stages.
“We’re working with faculty in several departments to present an opening celebration in which we hope to feature students, faculty and alumni,” said DeAngelis. “We have a lot to celebrate in the accomplishments of our programs, and several of our arts alumni have remarkable credentials.”
The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts hopes that the new Martin Center will allow them to host artists that they have struggled to present in the past due to limitations in space and technical capabilities in the Culp Center auditorium and other facilities on campus and in the region.
“ETSU has long suffered from a lack of gathering spaces for large meetings and events, and the main auditorium seating, stage area, technical abilities and supporting spaces will improve the university’s ability to host large events,” assured DeAngelis. “These events include ETSU-produced performances – music and bluegrass concerts, theater and dance performances, film screenings and more – as well as other events including pinning ceremonies, public speakers, large meetings, convocations and touring artists and companies.”
The Martin Center will feature a large stage with wings, a fly space above, an orchestra pit and adjustable acoustics. These features will enable the School of the Arts to expand their range of performances and events beyond what they have hosted over the past 10 seasons.
“I’m excited that several academic programs will have proper spaces to host events and to educate students,” said DeAngelis. “ETSU does not have any spaces on campus in which students in theater and dance can learn to operate a fly system with full rigging or students in music or bluegrass can learn to balance sound reinforcement for a concert. We’ll be better equipped to provide experiences for students who are pursuing careers in the arts.”
The School of the Arts is sure that this center will benefit not only students in their program but all ETSU students, faculty and staff.
“The arts allow us to view many topics through a different lens, and the arts already work to offer many events that are intentionally cross-disciplinary in nature,” explained DeAngelis. “We want to see more of this as we’re able to host more events.”
They hope construction will be complete in 12-14 months, with the building ready for use near the end of the spring 2020 semester.
“We believe the Martin Center will become a long needed piece of a complex puzzle in our region to improve quality of life for regional citizens as well as assist in efforts to increase tourism and economic development both in Johnson City and the region,” said DeAngelis.