Rubenstein gives $25 million for new $50 million, 71,000-square foot Arts Center

Construction is set to begin next month

<p>The new Arts Center is expected to be a “game-changer for the arts at Duke” at the corner of Anderson Street and Campus Drive across from the Nasher Museum of Art.</p>

The new Arts Center is expected to be a “game-changer for the arts at Duke” at the corner of Anderson Street and Campus Drive across from the Nasher Museum of Art.

David Rubenstein, Trinity '70 and chair of the Board of Trustees, has donated $25 million to help fund the construction of Duke's new $50-million, 71,000-square foot Arts Center, President Richard Brodhead announced after the Board's first meeting of the year.

Construction is expected to begin next month and was approved by the Trustees at the meeting, Brodhead said.

The new facility—which will be built on the corner of Anderson Street and Campus Drive across from the Nasher Museum of Art—is expected to be completed by the Summer of 2017 and is the largest single arts investment that Duke has ever made, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. With Rubenstein's contribution, fundraising for the new center is now complete.

"This is not going to be owned space. This is going to be big, multipurpose, creativity spaces," Brodhead said. "And I expect that, when we saw that incredibly unpromising laundry garage that turned into the Arts Annex, that this will be used—every inch of it will be used—24 hours a day I bet."

The new center will provide a home for Duke’s Dance program and the Arts of the Moving Image certificate program, which have been part of the recent increase in arts activities on campus during the last 10 years. Duke has invested almost $100 million in arts facilities in the past decade following the opening of the Nasher in 2005 and the number of student arts organizations has risen to 75, according to a press release announcing Rubenstein's donation.

The release also noted that three times as many applicants to Duke include arts portfolios with their applications as did 10 years ago. As student interest has grown, the University has added Documentary Studies and Arts of the Moving Image certificates, a master's of fine arts program, opened the Arts Annex and launched a new pre-orientation arts program. Even with all of the new arts programs, the new center is being touted as a "game-changer for the arts at Duke," Scott Lindroth, vice provost for the arts, previously told The Chronicle.

Following the Nasher's opening in 2005, Lindroth's administrative position was created and arts became a strategic planning priority for the University.

The new center will include 12 multi-purpose studios, a 200-seat performance theater, a 100-seat film theater, a dance studio, space for video production and a radio station, a garden, lounge, library, reception space, a painting and drawing studio, offices and classrooms. Brodhead noted that the center's proximity to the Nasher and central location should add to its appeal.

Duke's 18 dance-related student organizations currently have rehearsal space on East Campus and at a studio just off campus.

"The design of the building is like a reverse of the Nasher. The Nasher, since it has walls for exhibits inside, has a lot of stone and a little glass," Brodhead said. "This [center has] a lot of visibility, so the whole point is, you’ll see people dancing in the dance studio as you come from East to West at night. It’s going to be great."

Rubenstein's latest donation to the University comes just after Saturday's dedication of the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Rubenstein contributed $13.6 million to the library's renovations, and it was renamed in his honor following the donation in 2011.

He has previously made sizable donations to the Sanford School of Policy (approximately $21 million through three donations), the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative ($15 million), athletics ($10 million) and to enhance Jewish Life on campus ($1.9 million).

The co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, Rubenstein is also one of the leading supporters of the performing arts in The U.S. He has made significant donations to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and holds administrative positions in all three organizations.

“Duke has made great progress in recent years in bringing the arts to the same level of excellence we expect in anything that the university does," Rubenstein said in the release. "I look forward to this new building, and the programs and performances that will take place in it, becoming an essential part of every Duke student's experience."


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