Rice approves new visual and dramatic arts building
A building dedicated to visual and dramatic arts at Rice has been approved by the university administration, according to an email sent by Dean of Humanities Kathleen Canning.
“I am thrilled to announce that we have successfully made the case that the student arts at Rice need and deserve a new modern facility,” Canning said. “We are excited that a new building has been approved which will bring together the visual and dramatic arts in the near future.”
The announcement follows news that the Rice Media Center will be removed by the end of 2020, according to Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby. Kirby said in an update that the Media Center will remain at least until the end of the current academic year.
In her email, Canning said that details about the location and layout of the new building would be available after the pre-design process for the building is complete. Canning also said that fundraising for the building is critical, which Kirby confirmed.
“We hope to go into design later this year,” Kirby said. “However, substantial funds need to be raised before construction can begin. We do not have a detailed timeline yet.”
Canning said that the new building will increase visibility of the humanities both within Rice and the broader Houston community.
“This investment in the arts will help us implement the vision and recommendations made by the VADA external review last fall and will bring us in line with our peer schools,” Canning said. “The building will significantly resituate the arts within the Humanities at Rice.”
Canning, who arrived at Rice in January 2018, worked with VADA Chair John Sparagana and the Humanities Advisory Board to propose the building. In the April 2019 Thresher article about the Media Center’s removal, Sparagana said he hoped the administration would consider constructing a dedicated VADA building on the Media Center’s land that would include film, photography, studio and theater.
“We have great leadership in Dean Canning, terrific momentum in the arts at Rice, recognition of the consistent vitality and productivity of VADA and cognizance of student desire for a student arts building,” Sparagana said in April. “I am optimistic about the possibility of a VADA student arts building as never before.”
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