Westminster Expands Performing Arts Center for Growing Programs
February 12, 2020
Westminster College is pleased to announce the expansion of its performing arts center. The building addition will be known as Florence J. Gillmor Hall. Gillmor was a 1938 Westminster music graduate. The expansion will provide much-needed learning and performance space for students in Westminster’s music, theatre and dance programs. Sophomore Megan Fotheringham, like other dance majors, has had to travel to off-campus studios for her dance classes.
"I'm thrilled the expansion includes two dance studios where we can rehearse and perform. This is such a great campus and now future dance students will see they have opportunities here too," said Fotheringham.
Justin Ibarra, a vocal performance major from Las Vegas, is taking full advantage of Westminster's music professors and access to local professionals. He is a tenor with the Westminster Chamber Singers and the Utah Opera Chorus. Ibarra performed in Westminster's 2019 May Term theatre production of Next to Normal and the 2020 opera production of A Little Night Music, as well as in Utah Opera's The Magic Flute, Candide, and La Traviata. He sees even more opportunities in the new performance hall.
"It will give artists a place to hone their craft and lead to more collaboration among the programs, opening new doorways and new art forms. I'm excited about the art we're going to be able to create," said Ibarra.
Performing arts programs at Westminster are growing. Since the last expansion of the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts in 2004, the college has added majors in theatre and music – doubling enrollment in both programs. Westminster's Theatre BFA reached max enrollment in just eight years. Both music and theatre have outgrown available teaching and performing spaces. The college now has a dance program, but students have class in rented studios ten minutes away. The new 26,00 square foot expansion will be built on the south end of the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts and will provide much-needed facilities to serve current students with room for increasing interest of prospective students.
- 26,000 square feet over three floors
- 100-seat recital hall
- Dance/performance studios
- Sound-proof rehearsal studios
- Practice hall
- Student lounge
- Costume studio
- Expanded scene shop
- Lobby and art display spaces
"We've seen the college’s performing arts programs flourish over the past few years. Our quality, visibility in the arts community, and the skills, talents and potential of our students are all exemplary," said President Bethami A. Dobkin. "Westminster is rapidly becoming known as one of the finest performing arts programs in our region."
The expansion is the latest example of the generosity and dedication to the arts of the Florence J. Gillmor Foundation. The foundation also funds scholarships, faculty, programming, instruments and summer workshops for the Florence J. Gillmor School of Music at Westminster College. Other major donors to the building include the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, the Fenton Family Foundation, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, and the Dell Loy Hansen Family Foundation.
The $14 million project is being fully funded by donations and is expected to take approximately 13 months to complete. Florence J. Gillmor Hall will be open for classes, rehearsals and performances by fall semester 2021.