Plans for a 2,500 square foot addition to the Northeastern State University Playhouse will provide much-needed expansion for the institution’s theatre program without displacing the Ascending mural which graces the west exterior of the building. Painted by associate art professor Lance Hunter with assistance of artist Sylvia Nitti and students Matt Capps, Leah Dotson, Danielle Ford, Peter Hay, Tonya Murphy, Sonya Norman, Avrahm Thorne and Amber Watson, the allegorical piece was dedicated 2009 as part of NSU’s centennial celebration.
According to Tim Foutch, vice president of operations, the new stand-alone addition will be erected 5 to 7 feet from the existing mural and will house a few faculty offices, stage workshop, costume shop and student learning space for the College of Liberal Arts and its theatre program.
The mural will remain virtually intact with the exception of an overhead door which will penetrate the back wall to allow efficient transport of props and sets between the two buildings, said Foutch.
Architects are finalizing designs which will provide access to view the mural from within the new facility, offering a protected, unobstructed view of this centennial work.
“We think this is a win-win for the university and the community,” said Foutch. “NSU gets to provide necessary future expansion to faculty and student populations while preserving this artistic tribute to its past.”
University officials are discussing the commission of another mural from Hunter which would be located on west side of the new facility. The NSU Playhouse addition is slated for completion in mid October and will effectively replace programming in the Shawnee Street Theater which is under review according to the university master plan.
“In our recent meeting, I was encouraged by Mr. Foutch’s concern for preserving the centennial mural. I appreciate all the time and work the NSU art students put into the mural and it is very encouraging to see that the current administration values their efforts,” said Hunter. "It is my hope that at the end of the discussion and planning process that the new building will meet the needs of the theater department, while maintaining visual access to the mural.
“Although, the existing mural will no longer be visible from the street, Mr. Foutch assured me that the construction of the new facility will include structural considerations and funding for a new mural on the west wall. I believe this part of the plan addresses many of the concerns voiced by members of the local community.”
Published: 5/24/2012 10:57:01 AM