University News

Cultivating Creative Expression
A new performing arts center to open in the heart of campus

By Christina Paxson / September–October 2022
August 24th, 2022

In 1970, a faculty committee co-chaired by Nobel Prize–winning physicist Leon Cooper produced a report saying Brown faced an urgent need for arts facilities and recommending that the University prioritize the construction of a performing arts center.

It took more than 40 years, but in 2011 the University opened the new Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The Granoff, as it is affectionately known, has become the distinctive and vibrant center of cross-disciplinary innovation in the arts. But, although the Granoff Center meets many of the artistic needs of the campus, it was never envisioned as—or designed to be—a venue for large-scale performances and productions. 

Several years ago, we commissioned a study of performing arts spaces across campus. It confirmed that, despite the incredible artistic talent at Brown, there remains a severe shortage of performance and rehearsal space. For example, the Brown University Orchestra rehearses in Alumnae Hall and performs in Sayles Hall—both of which are far from optimal from an acoustical perspective. Students sometimes struggle to find spaces to practice, and departments and student groups frequently compete for rehearsal space. Brown is limited in its ability to showcase local, national, and international artists and performers. 

Now, more than half a century after that initial report, I am thrilled to share that Brown will soon have the performance space needed to meet its aspirations in the arts. The Lindemann Performing Arts Center—the name was unveiled in May—will open in the heart of Brown’s campus, next to the Granoff Center, in fall 2023.

The main hall will have the capacity to transform into a symphony stage, a theater, or an immersive  surround-sound cube for experimental media.

The Lindemann Performing Arts
Center promises to be extraordinary. The main performance hall will have the capacity to transform into multiple configurations, including but not limited to a symphony orchestra stage, an end-stage theater, and an immersive surround-sound cube for experimental media. The Center will also include modern studios for theater, dance, and rehearsal spaces and serve as an academic resource for our students and faculty.

Brown’s investments in these state-of-the-art facilities reflect the University’s belief that creative expression is integral to a liberal arts education and that experimentation in the arts is an important form of knowledge production. Indeed, the Open Curriculum attracts creative students and faculty who want to create connections between the arts and other fields of study, from public health to neuroscience to computer science. Our students and faculty appreciate that the arts spark conversations and advance understanding about pressing issues like climate change, racial justice, and political polarization, and bring people together.

Our commitment is further reflected in the growth of the Brown Arts Institute (BAI), which aspires to build a robust set of academic programs and events in the arts and foster a cross-
disciplinary ecosystem where members of the Brown community learn from each other and through meaningful engagements with visiting artists and scholars. Led by Artistic Director Avery Willis Hoffman and Faculty Director Kent Kleinman, the BAI will host residencies for emerging artists from around the world. The Institute will also develop new academic programs in the arts; support community engagement and the development of the local arts workforce; and build relationships with arts institutions and educational organizations in Rhode Island and across the country.

With the opening of the Lindemann Performance Arts Center next year, combined with the Granoff Center, the BAI, and our talented faculty, students, and staff, Brown is positioned to fully realize its potential as a leader in artistic education, performance, and innovation. I invite all of you to engage with the Brown Arts Institute and to visit the Lindemann Center for the Performing Arts when you are on campus.

Read the September–October 2022 President’s Spread on “Improving Our World Through Engineering” here (PDF).  

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September–October 2022