The Moody Foundation has awarded $20 million to Rice University
for a new Center for the Arts on campus. The interdisciplinary center will provide space for arts education, performances and gallery exhibitions on campus and promote collaborations with Houstons world-class art museums.
The arts at Rice have been significantly enhanced over the past decade, and the Moody Center for the Arts will enable Rice University to take an important step to provide suitable space to serve an increasing recognition of the importance of the arts across disciplines, said President David Leebron. Importantly, this building will enable Rice to enrich its relationships with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), the Menil Collection and the citys other exceptional art institutions, and be a great resource for the city as well as the campus. We are forever grateful to the Moody Foundation for its generous support of the arts at Rice and in Houston.
A 50,000-square-foot building for the Moody Center currently in the predesign phase would provide three types of space: lecture and studio classrooms for arts making and collaboration; a theater venue for experimental and smaller-scale productions; and galleries both for exhibition of faculty and students work and curated exhibits by Rice and jointly with the museums of Houston.
The Moody Center will foster creativity in arts much like Rices Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen enables creativity in engineering, said Caroline Levander, vice provost for interdisciplinary initiatives, who will oversee the center along with a faculty director funded with an endowed position. The center will provide space for arts creation and collaboration that we dont have on campus and complement our existing facilities devoted to the arts.
Levander said the new center should help recruit highly talented faculty and students in the visual and performing arts.
Theres a trend in elite higher education to build art centers on campus and raise awareness of the arts, Levander said. She noted that consultants from the University of Chicago and Princeton, Duke and Harvard universities were brought in to assess Rices needs and potential in the arts. But Rice is different from its peers because of the universitys proximity to Houstons Museum District and the level of partnerships it has already established with MFAH, the Menil Collection, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Glassell School of Art and the citys other arts institutions, she said.
To facilitate collaborations, Levander convened a Faculty Arts Advisory Committee that includes representatives from the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, the Department of Art History, the Shepherd School of Music and the schools of Architecture, Humanities and Engineering. The committee is tasked with providing valuable input on fostering creativity in the arts across disciplines, she said.
Additional funding is needed for construction of the building, along with approval of the Rice Board of Trustees, with a tentative opening planned for 2015. The new building will be located near the current arts and media center at Entrance 8.
The Moody Foundations trustees saw the potential for the Moody Center for the Arts to open new creative channels between Rice and Houstons outstanding museum community, said Ross Moody, a trustee of the foundation.