As the College prepared to dedicate the newly renovated Gibson Center for the Arts in 2010, Kate talked about her undergraduate experience.
As a drama major and music minor, I spent a lot of my time in the Gibson Center for the Arts. I devoted entire afternoons to singing through songs from my voice lessons and practicing for the Early Music Consort in the music practice rooms—and sometimes even in Dr. Garry Clarke’s office. We rehearsed scenes in the green room for long hours, late into the night, only to return the next morning for a 9 a.m. carpentry work call in the shop. We cleaned Phoebes, the old black box theatre in the basement of Gibson, and then we were presented with a neat new small performance space right next to it. I think we created amazing things in that building, and I loved every minute of it. The wonderful thing about people involved in the arts is that physical limitations and restrictions never restrict their creativity. If we didn’t have a space for a show, we found one. People used the loading dock at the back of the theatre, and we had classes outside on the steps on nice days. Tawes may be a little old and dowdy, but it was home for those of us consumed with a passion for music and theatre.
How fortunate tomorrow’s students will be to have a wonderful new performing arts space. This center is exactly what Washington College needs right now. As the school strives to raise its profile among its liberal arts competitors and remain competitive for prospective students, the physical campus must reflect the quality of the academic experience offered here. This new facility will become a gathering place for students, faculty, alumni and friends to celebrate Washington College and the arts.
Think of all the plays, concerts and performances created in Tawes. Now consider how much more potential a modern performance center holds. With new facilities, students of the arts will have no restrictions on space or technical support. There were always scheduling conflicts for rehearsals in Tawes; if the Concert Series was using the stage and the green room, where could we rehearse? If a lecture were scheduled in Bill Smith, would there be a place for the Early Music Consort to meet on the music hallway? In the new performing arts center, there will be a place for everyone and everything. I can’t wait for the drama and music professors to finally have a much-deserved opportunity to watch their students fully blossom into actors, technicians, musicians and artists over the course of four years, in a space equal to their creative talent.