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AMU Set to Announce Plans for Performing Arts Center [UPDATED]

A performing arts center, part of the original plans for Ave Maria University, is now a top priority and AMU will be announcing a major fundraising drive Thursday to raise $10 million for the project, AMU President Jim Towey said Saturday.

The fundraising effort will be led by the founder of the Naples Center for the Performing Arts (now known as Artis Naples), Myra Janco Daniels.

artscenter-400A news release from the university Monday (text at end of this article said that the center would have seating for 1,250 and would include a thrust stage, which juts out into the audience, used  for the AMU's highly-regarded Shakespeare in Performance program. In addition to the performance space, the building would house practice rooms, classrooms and some office space.

The original layout  for the AMU located the performing arts center on Ave Maria Blvd., across from the oratory, but Mr. Towey said the new structure would be built across the canal. west of the current campus, where it would be accessible by road from the traffic circle at the south end of the Ave Maria town center as well as by a footbridge from the campus. Pictured, an artist rendering of the center. A PDF with four images, including a larger version of the exterior and others showing the layout can be downloaded from the AMU website here.

More details about the project will be announced Thursday evening at the university's annual Scholarship Dinner at the Ritz-Carleton Beach hotel.

The news release sadi that the university hoped to have construction completed in 2016 but the timing depends on how quicly the university can raise the funding.

"We'll be relying on Myra's magic," Mr. Towey said.

A Naples Daily News story is behind a paywall and requires a subscription to access it.)

The text of the news release issued by AMU Monday follows:



Longtime Naples Phil CEO Myra Daniels To Chair Campaign

AVE MARIA, FL (February 17, 2014) – Ave Maria University is proud to announce that it will build a 1,250-seat performing arts center on its campus, an addition that will give students a much-needed venue to practice and master their talents and further study the arts.

Myra Janco Daniels, founder and longtime CEO of the Philharmonic Center for the Arts (now Artis-Naples) and the Naples Museum of Art will chair the project.

The $10 million performing arts center will feature a thrust stage extending into the audience and also house classrooms, a multi-media studio, office space, practice rooms and an art gallery. Its location will give AMU students the opportunity to experience the arts within a short walk on campus. In addition, the University will now have a first-class venue to host both internal and external events such as graduation and conferences.

"We have started a new era," said AMU President Jim Towey. "Our founder, Tom Monaghan, had a great interest in the arts and planted the seeds. More and more of our students, coming from all over the world, are interested in the arts and this new performing arts center will fill that need."

Not only does AMU expect the new center to draw students from around the world who are interested in the arts, but also to attract top-flight faculty members to teach at the University.

The University is raising money now for the building of the center, which is expected to be completed in 2016.

Renowned architect Gene Aubrey, whose work includes the Philharmonic Center Cultural Complex in Naples as well as the Wortham Theater Center and the Rothko Chapel, both in Houston, Texas, will design the center.

Detailed plans for the center will be released at the AMU Third Annual Scholarship Dinner on Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples. 



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