New Arts Center Approved

In October the Duke Board of Trustees approved a new $50 million arts center, planned for the northeast corner of Anderson Street and Campus Drive, near the Nasher Museum of Art and Duke Gardens. The center will provide space for rehearsal, performance, video production, classroom instruction and other uses. Construction is expected to take two years.

The new arts center at Duke is the largest and most recent in a series of university investments in arts facilities, programs, and faculty that total close to $100 million over the last decade. This commitment to arts education, training and performance is a reflection of rising student interest and a desire to make the arts a more central element of the overall Duke experience, said Scott Lindroth, a music professor and vice provost for the arts.

The 71,000-square-foot facility will feature a dance studio along with a dozen multi-use studios, a 200-seat performance theater, a 100-seat film theater, a garden, lounge, library, reception space, a painting and drawing studio, offices and classrooms. Duke’s Dance Program will be one of two academic departments—along with Arts of the Moving Image—that will relocate to the new arts center.

David Rubenstein, chairman of the Board of Trustees and a longtime supporter of the arts, has pledged a $25 million gift to help create and sustain programs, activities and performances across the range of performing and visual arts at Duke. Rubenstein, a 1970 Duke graduate, is one of the leading arts philanthropists and advocates in the country.  

"We are grateful to David Rubenstein for his visionary gift, which will ensure that the arts continue to thrive as a significant dimension of a Duke education, while the new space will set the stage for a thousand forms of creativity and innovation," said Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead. "The arts building represents a major step in Duke's commitment to supporting the artistic work of our students and faculty."

A $8.36 million gift from Duke University alumnus and trustee emeritus Karl von der Heyden and his wife, Mary Ellen, will also support the arts at Duke and graduate students at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI). Of the total, $7.36 million will support programs, events, and other educational opportunities in the new arts center.

“The von der Heyden name is already known to everyone at Duke because of the pavilion that is such a beloved gathering space in the library,” President Brodhead said. “It’s a privilege to express our gratitude once again to Karl and Mary Ellen for their extraordinary generosity in continuing to support Duke’s highest priorities. This gift will help to develop a flourishing arts scene on campus and will give students the opportunity to become leaders and experts in global health.”

Information from the Office of News and Communications, Duke University.