A New Home for the Arts at Columbia University


A New Home for the Arts at Columbia University

The Lenfest Center for the Arts
Architecture & Design
Visual Arts

Last fall, Columbia University dedicated its new 17-acre campus known as Manhattanville. The new urban campus opened its first new buildings—the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, home to the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute in the fall and the Lenfest Center for the Arts this past month.

Read more about the new campus in the CAA Arts Access blog.

With the opening of the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a building that will be dedicated to the presentation and creation of art across disciplines, and also providing a dynamic new space for Columbia University School of the Arts, is a new home for the arts at Columbia. The Center will also be the new home for the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. Its first show, opened on April 22, is the visual arts program’s MFA thesis exhibition. On June 2, the gallery will present Uptown, a survey of work by contemporary artists from Harlem, El Barrio, and Washington Heights.

In his vision for a new campus, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger wanted the arts to take a central role. The Lenfest Center delivers on his vision. A sleek 60,000-squarefoot building on West 125th Street, it will host public exhibitions, performances, screenings, symposia, readings, lectures, and other events.

“It seemed essential to me that the arts be a key part of Manhattanville,” said President Bollinger. “Harlem is an iconic cultural center that we should be a part of and support, and Carol Becker, Dean of Columbia University School of the Arts, embraces the possibilities that come from bringing together different kinds of people. The work at the School of the Arts—and in the Wallach Gallery—deserves a world-class platform.”

Dean Carol Becker spoke to Eve Glasberg from Columbia’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs about the role of the Lenfest Center within the larger scope of the University and beyond, as well as the design of the building and its functions.

“Our emphasis will be to make contemporary art available to the public through conversations and exhibits with artists and thinkers working in and across multiple forms,” Becker said. “For the first time, all the different disciplines will be working together in one building. We can invite everyone in the adjoining neighborhoods and the Columbia community—undergraduates, graduates, all the schools together—to experience what we’ve been doing for decades.”

Read the full article and interview here.

Excerpts from Columbia News, March 27, 2017 by Eve Glasberg