2 Feb 2012

Looking into the Wolfe’s Eyes

Author: chevona | Filed under: BGSU, Spring 2012, Student Contributor, Wolfe Center

By, Chevon Anderson


Designed by the international architecture firm SNØHETTA, The Wolfe Center of the Arts is the newest building to join the Bowling Green State University campus. The building stands out with its unique architectural design and its clean metal and steel appearance.

The state-of-the-art 93,000-square-foot, $40 million arts building opened in December. This project was five years in the making with some finishing touches that to be done. Classes started in January and productions will be starting soon.

Some students question the $42 million price tag that comes with the building, however, Sara Chambers, theater and film department lecturer, said that people don’t understand how poor the facilities were back at the Eve Marie Saint Theatre and the Joe E. Brown Theater. One theatre was completely unusable and neither was never meant to be theaters. So they were in need of new facilities, explained Chambers.

Dr. Ron Shields, chair of the Theatre and Film Department, said that he was most proud that the university invested “in signature architecture which is a work of art in itself” and to have “a collaborative arts building where students from different art disciplines can work together.”

This building brings together many disciplines: theater, film, digital and graphic design, and dance. Jen Sobolewski, BGSU spokesperson, emphasized that the building offers its students the best of the best and that there will be no equipment that will be better than the equipment they will use here.

Now that the Wolfe Center is up and running, the students and faculty are preparing for the upcoming spring shows. “The spring shows are exciting and different. The music’s fun, the shows are funny with exciting dancing,” said Chambers.

There are two theaters in the Wolfe Center, the new Eva Marie Saint Theater and the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre. The black box theatre, The Eva Marie Saint Theater, is a versatile theater space with seating anywhere from 80-120. The first performance to take place there is “Arabian Nights”, which opens Feb. 16.

Ron Shields on the Donnell Theatre stage

The Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre is the main theater, which seats 400 people. The first show to take place in the Donnell Theatre is the opera gala on Feb. 24-25. Later on in the year there will be the English two part opera “Hercules” and the musical “Chicago”.

Ryan Miller, the design and construction project manager explained that the Donnell Theatre was the most expensive room in the building. Miller explained how it was important to take the money that would spend to on size for more seating and use it the technology.

“Everything in the building is new. There was not one piece of equipment that was in the old theaters that was brought over to the Wolfe,” Miller said.

The purpose of the Wolfe Center of the Arts was to create a unified arts environment and the building features a walk-through that connects the visual arts campus to the performing arts campus. “This had to be a good teaching space and had to be a good theatre space,” said Shields.

Allison Gehres, an art education and 3D studies major, said that she took specific classes just so she could be in the Wolfe Center. “It’s so nice on the inside and out; who wouldn’t want to work in the building?”

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