ST. GEORGE — Dixie State College dedicated its new fine arts center on Friday with a community celebration aimed at showing off the $18 million facility.
"We're so excited to host these grand-opening events," said Mark Petersen, who serves the college in a new position as executive director of the cultural arts. "The college has a beautiful, new fine arts center that will provide wonderful educational and performing experiences for the students and faculty."
The 78,000-square-foot fine arts center is named after Dolores Dore Eccles, whose family donated $3 million for construction of the multiple-use building. The Legislature also appropriated $14 million for the structure, and another $500,000 was raised through proceeds from the annual Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show held over the past 17 years.
Friday's dedication events included a ribbon cutting, a reception and tours. The center boasts a 500-seat main stage theater, a 300-seat concert hall, a 100-seat black box theater, two dance studios, and the Robert and Peggy Sears Art Gallery.
Students will also have access to rehearsal and practice rooms, costume and scene shops, art storage spaces and a few classrooms.
"Everything is included in one facility," said Petersen. "Arts patrons will be able to attend a concert or a play and visit the beautiful art gallery at the same time."
Several years ago, the Emil Graff family established an endowment for the arts at the college, and the old fine arts center was named after that family. Long-time Dixie residents will appreciate the college's decision to save a portion of the old fine arts center in order to keep the massive, historical mosaic mural displayed on the outside.
That building, which retains the name Graff Performing Arts, was remodeled to include two large dance studios, offices, restrooms and a lobby.
"We're grateful to our many benefactors who have helped make this wonderful arts center a reality," said Petersen. "The fine arts are such an important part of our lives. The cultural arts—music, theater, dance and visual art, to name a few — bring creativity, understanding and personal expression into all that we do, and helps us communicate heart to heart. Our new facility will be the place where faculty members encourage that creativity and expression in our students."