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UVa-Wise facility named Gilliam Center for the Arts

The new $14.4 million fine and performing arts facility at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is now officially the Gilliam Center for the Arts, following action taken Monday by the UVa-Wise Board.

Gilliam Center for the Arts

The facility is named in honor of the Gilliam family’s unwavering and generous support for UVa-Wise. The Gilliam family has a long history of generosity toward UVa-Wise and its students and is a staunch advocate for education and cultural activities throughout the region and beyond.

Family matriarch Betty J. Gilliam is a professor emeritus of art at UVa-Wise. She arrived at the College in 1960, and in addition to touching the lives of countless students in her nearly three decades of teaching, she quickly brought fine art to the community by borrowing pieces from the Virginia Museum of Art to the College. She organized the art exhibit at the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair and taught art at remote sites throughout Southwest Virginia. She was instrumental in establishing the public library in Wise and assisted in the setup of the Harris Gallery.

With the opening of the Gilliam Center for the Arts in August, the fine and performing arts programs are housed under one roof for the first time in the College’s history. The facility is designed to inspire and engage the region through a broad range of performances and exhibitions.

“The Gilliam Center for the Arts is the crown jewel of the campus,” said Chancellor David J. Prior. “It is a facility that serves not only the College but the entire region.”

The visual art area offers generous studio space and updated technology in the ceramics and paper arts studios. The art gallery provides an elegant exhibition space and will allow the College to host professional, juried and private collection shows.

The music section includes rehearsal spaces for a variety of bands and choirs, state-of-the-art digital audio and piano labs, student practice rooms with built-in recording and playback capabilities, a dedicated one-on-one teaching studio and versatile performance space.

Although work on the theater area is not yet finished, it will include a full-scale theater with exceptionally equipped scenic and costume studios, a rehearsal studio and a courtyard suitable for performances. When finished later this year, the theater will feature robotic lighting, a computer-driven winch system, a large motorized turntable and a digital audio console with editing and playback software.

For more information, contact the Office of College Relations at 276-328-0130.