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Groundbreaking ceremony reveals centennial status for NMSU Center for the Arts

The New Mexico State University Center for the Arts is being designated as a centennial building for the state of New Mexico.

Participants in the new Center for the Arts groundbreaking ceremony, including President Barbara Couture, center, turn some dirt on the future site of the new facility. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

The announcement came at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday at the corner of Espina Street and University Avenue, the site of the new arts center. It will be the first building in the state to receive this designation.

"In 2012, when this center opens to the public, it will be a fitting tribute to our Land of Enchantment and reflect the distance we have come in the last 100 years," said Jon Hunner, history department head.

When completed, NMSU's Center for the Arts will gather the university's scattered arts programs in one central location, encouraging more collaborative activity and providing the community easier accessibility to the many creative endeavors on campus. Its development has been planned in collaboration with each involved department and the community.

The first phase of the Center for the Arts project is a 49,000 square-foot building containing a 500-seat performing arts theater with full fly loft for teaching stage craft, multi-disciplinary classrooms, rehearsal spaces, offices, galleries, laboratories and support spaces.

Ammu Devasthali, who chairs a Volunteer Leadership Advisory Committee dedicated to the project, said the Center for the Arts will be important for the entire border region.

"There is an abundance of talent in this region and we need a venue to showcase it," Devasthali said. "Art is uplifting for everyone, especially during hard times. It does so much for the human psyche."

A true blend of public and private funding is making this possible.
"Private sector contributions are critical to bringing a project of this scope to reality," said Jill Grammer, director of development for the Center for the Arts. "Naming opportunities exist in all phases. All gifts of $1,000 or more will be recognized in the finished facility."

The groundbreaking ceremony was sponsored by Wells Fargo. For more information on the Center for the Arts, visit http://cfta.nmsu.edu

Broadcast Advisory: Watch this video on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg-jSamowMA Video and sound bites for broadcast are available under the title Ctr4Arts at the following ftp site: ftp://aggievision:goaggies@aggievision.nmsu.edu. Use the following information if you are using a download client: Host: aggievision.nmsu.edu Username: aggievision Password: goaggies. To download these files you must have Quicktime Pro software. For questions on problems with downloading, contact Minerva Baumann (575) 646-7566.