Enticing the patronage of art enthusiasts throughout an 18-county region of Oklahoma, the new Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center provides learning, display and multiple performance venues for East Central University’s departments of art, communication and music. The three departments, under the same roof for the first time in COST PER SQ FT$275.45FEATURED IN2010 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYAuditoriums/Music Rooms university’s history, form the foundation of the community’s vibrant, newly formed arts district.
The arts district is defined further by pedestrian plazas along two facades of the building. The plazas, which were former public streets, were first envisioned by designers as public festival areas and natural respites for students. The site was selected at the terminus of the city’s historic Main Street to transform the entry to the university and revitalize the community’s central business district. A 40-foot-long reflecting pond and water element provides dramatic frontage to the facility, as well as an inviting break from the pedestrian pathways.
Visitors are greeted by a stunning 42-foot-tall grand entry lobby and prefunction space with timeless wood paneling. Clerestory windows enable daylighting and enhance the height of the space. The 82,000-square-foot center includes a tiered 1,000-seat auditorium for musical and theatrical performances, as well as an adjacent black-box theater. The Fine Arts Center also features an indoor and adjacent outdoor art gallery, classrooms, rehearsal and studio spaces, a costume shop and faculty offices, along with production space for television and radio broadcasting.
The success of the Fine Arts Center has been contagious throughout the community. The influx of art lovers has provided a springboard to arts and entertainment-related businesses, which could not survive otherwise without a formalized district dedicated to creativity.