Gilliam Center for the Arts officially dedicated at UVa-Wise
The Gilliam Center for the Arts was officially dedicated in an April 12 ceremony that featured University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III and others honoring the Gilliam family’s contribution to the facility.
The Gilliam Center for the Arts embodies the essence of a true liberal arts college, President Casteen said. The facility stands as a testament to the unwavering and generous support the Gilliam family has provided the College throughout the years.
UVa-Wise Chancellor David J. Prior described a vibrant energy that flows from the Gilliam Center when bands and choirs rehearse and students put final touches on various fine arts projects. The facility is the jewel of the campus, he said.
Chancellor Prior presented the plaque installed in the building to mark the dedication. The plaque inscription points out that Richard and Leslie Gilliam and Marcia and Marvin Gilliam, Jr. have “provided unwavering and generous philanthropic support for the College” for many years. The Gilliams have been prominent leaders in the coal industry and are staunch advocates for education and cultural activities throughout the region.
Betty J. Gilliam, the family matriarch, joined the College faculty in 1960 as the first art professor. She was named professor
of art emerita in 1989. Mrs. Gilliam attended the dedication ceremony with her family.
A highlight of the ceremony was a performance of “A capella Mass” by the Highland Singers. The work was composed and conducted by David Volk, assistant professor of music.
The facility opened last fall and houses all fine and performing arts programs under one roof for the first time in the College’s history. Construction on the facility involved renovating the original theater building, which tripled the available space.
The Gilliam Center has a black box theater, a large scene shop, a green room, a costume shop and a storage area for props. The theater has robotic lighting, a large motorized turntable that provides flexibility with scene design, and a digital audio console with editing and playback software.
The music section includes rehearsal space for bands and choirs, digital audio and piano labs and student practice rooms with recording and playback capabilities.
The two-story, 8,525-square-foot studio art wing includes art studios, a ceramics studio, a dark room, faculty offices and a paper arts studio. The art gallery allows the College to host professional, juried and private collection shows