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On June 23-24, 2010 the Hopkins Center for the Arts (the Hop) co-hosted, with our colleagues in Major University Presenters (MUPS), a symposium on “The Arts Center of the 21st Century.” The symposium’s agenda had emerged as the result of planning by a Working Committee among several campuses which are members of MUPS—Arizona State, Dartmouth, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Stanford—all with an eye toward future capital renovation or expansion projects on our campuses. The principal theme of the convening was to learn from artists and practitioners where their work and their interests are leading them, and how those directions might affect the physical manifestations of future arts centers. We had a very full one and half days of provocative speakers, interactive presentations and small group charrettes that tried to imagine the Hop (and other arts centers) of the 21st Century. The event took place on the stage of Spaulding Auditorium in the Hopkins Center, and involved approximately 60 invited participants on the Auditorium stage (see attenders list below). Campus and community members also observe the public portions of the symposium from seats in the Auditorium.

The symposium fell into three phases:
  • An initial infusion of information and perspectives from artists whose work or whose knowledge could be particularly thought-provoking, followed by a summary presentation about past and current arts center buildings which illustrate particularly relevant trends or breakthroughs.
  • A series of panels focused on various functional types of spaces in arts centers, viewed through thematic perspectives that are shaping our field. These presentations were informed by many interviews with artists and practitioners conducted by working committee members over the past year or so, focused especially on artists whose work might be pushing the edges of current facilities.
  • A charrette exercise, where symposium participants formed teams and, with the day’s presentations and discussions in mind, analyzed and brainstormed ideas around future space development issues within the Hopkins Center (and, by extension, other arts centers).
The symposium was among a number of planning and programming activities organized by the Hopkins Center as it moves toward its 50th Anniversary in 2012/13, a year in which Dartmouth also plans to open a major under-construction Visual Arts Center. When the Hop itself was opened in 1962, it marked the outset of a wave of cultural facilities building that was about to sweep the country and many of America’s campuses. As the Hop and other campuses contemplate a new phase of re-animation and potential expansion, our hope was that a symposium such as this could help launch a new phase of aspirational conversations and actions, and, by learning from artists and among ourselves, we could help plot the course of art centers for this new century. Judging from the responses of participants and the vitality of the charrette presentations, this was an intense and productive gathering of some of our field’s most creative minds, with results that hold promise for instigating and furthering a national conversation about our future arts spaces.

In the wake of the symposium, the Hopkins Center plans to post presentations and findings on this website, including videos of the presentations, notes from the charrettes, and summary papers —in hopes that such data may inform and inspire other campuses contemplating re-animation and potential expansion for the Arts Center of the 21st Century.

Jeffrey H. James
Howard Gilman Director
Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College

Please direct questions or comments to: hopmups@dartmouth.edu

* = member of the working committee for the Dartmouth Symposium on the Arts Center of the 21st century
  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts/University of Pennsylvania
  • ASU Gammage/Arizona State University*
  • Cal Performances/University of California, Berkeley
  • Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center/University of Maryland
  • Hancher Auditorium/The University of Iowa*
  • Hopkins Center for the Arts/Dartmouth College*
  • Lied Center of Kansas/The University of Kansas
  • Lied Center for Performing Arts, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Carolina Performing Arts/University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Krannert Center for the Performing Arts/University of Illinois*
  • The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts/University of California, Davis
  • Northrop at the University of Minnesota/University of Minnesota*
  • Performing Arts Center/The University of Texas at Austin
  • Penn State Center for the Performing Arts/The Pennsylvania State University*
  • Stanford Lively Arts/Stanford University*
  • UApresents/University of Arizona
  • University of Florida Performing Arts/University of Florida*
  • University Musical Society/University of Michigan
  • UW World Series/University of Washington
  • Wexner Center for the Arts/The Ohio State University*
The Hopkins Center gratefully acknowledges the following donors whose gifts have helped to make this symposium possible: The Howard Gilman Foundation, Robert ’75 P’02, ’06 and Carol Manegold P’02 P’06, Beth ’82 and Scott Stephenson, and William Neukom ’64. Important advice and support has also been provided by Provost and Dean of Faculty Carol Folt and her office.