June 9, 2021

Center of attention: University opens state-of-the-art Center for the Arts

The University’s new Center for the Arts opened in August 2020 and began hosting classes and events with the start of the fall 2020 semester.

The 36,750-square-foot building is located at the intersection of Oak Street and North Boundary Street and is unique among collegiate facilities in the state of Alabama. It brings together academic disciplines previously spread out across multiple buildings on the UM campus and serves as a prime resource for the Montevallo community and Shelby County.

The Center serves students in the College of Fine Arts departments of art, communication, music and theatre and adds a dance program to the college.

The beautiful facility features two performance venues, an art gallery, a large social space, a concessions area, a digital fabrication lab, design labs with animation software, multiple classrooms, theatre faculty and college offices, vocal performance rehearsal rooms, a dance studio, production shops, a public pocket park, a sculpture garden, an outdoor commons area and adjacent ground-level parking.

But the building’s impact will stretch far beyond the College of Fine Arts, as it was designed to provide services to the University and community as a whole and will have a positive economic and cultural impact on the entire community. It has already hosted multiple art exhibitions complete with virtual gallery tours and live-streamed gallery talks, and capacity-limited performances.

“The Center is a one-of-a-kind, 21st century teaching and learning ‘collaboratory’ for the arts and communication. It is a hub for cross-disciplinary studies and a prime resource for the campus, city of Montevallo and Shelby County,” said Dr. Steve Peters, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “With state-of-the-art instructional, production and performance venues, the newly completed Center is located just across the street from the UM quad and one block from Main Street, so it brings the arts literally to the center of the UM campus and the community.”

The University is honoring the memory of alumna Rebecca Luker by naming the stage in the Center for the Arts the Rebecca J. Luker Stage.

A 1984 UM graduate, Luker, who died Dec. 23, 2020, led a lengthy and distinguished career as a Broadway actress.

An anonymous donor has also stepped up to provide a $50,000 match to establish the Rebecca Luker Memorial Scholarship for UM theatre students. Any donations made toward the match will help to endow the scholarship, allowing it to make an impact on students’ lives for years to come.

Anyone interested in making a donation to support the scholarship should contact the UM Office of Advancement at giving@montevallo.edu or 205-665-6215.

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