A $100 million donation “will enable Harvard to imagine a 21st-century research and performance center in Allston,” the Cambridge university announced today, making it “possible to reimagine the university’s arts campus and envision a future home for the American Repertory Theater.”
The ART was founded in 1980 and has been programming the Loeb Drama Center, built in 1960 at 64 Brattle St. in Harvard Square. “The ART will continue to produce work at the Loeb for several years while plans develop,” the university’s announcement said. The announcement makes no mention of Oberon, ART’s second stage and “destination for theater and nightlife” at 2 Arrow St.
The donation comes from David and Stacey Goel.
Harvard officials were unavailable to answer questions about their announcement today. “We’ll respond tomorrow as soon as we’re able,” school spokesperson Chris Hennessy wrote via email.
The facility proposed for Boston’s Allston neighborhood would be adjacent to the athletic facilities on North Harvard Street, the university said. It will be “a center for the arts at the nucleus of Harvard’s expanding campus,” Mr. Goel, co-founder and managing general partner of Waltham-based Matrix Capital Management Company LP, said in the announcement. He described it as “a versatile theater space that can be reshaped as appropriate to express and share the abundant ideas originated by the college, the American Repertory Theater, and Harvard’s community already at home in Allston.”
“Building on the ART’s reputation as a world-class producing theater, a new center in Allston will also expand the opportunities for collaboration with Harvard undergraduates and artists from our surrounding community and around the world,” Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay said in a prepared statement.
The Goels’ donation signals the school’s “effort to fund a state-of-the-art research and performance center in Allston,” the announcement said. “Allston will be home to one of the nation’s great incubators of creativity,” Harvard President Larry Bacow said in the announcement. “The university will continue to assess its design, fundraising, and planning needs in the coming months,” the announcement said.
“The vision for a new research and performance center will reflect the ART’s core commitments to artistic excellence, rigorous pedagogy, civic leadership, global engagement, inquiry, and inclusion,” ART artistic director Diane Paulus said in a prepared statement. “We are excited by the transformative possibilities that come with the Goels’ astoundingly generous gift. It will allow us to envision a sustainably designed center that encourages creative risk-taking in open, democratic spaces that will feel welcoming and porous to the city.”
The Goels’ gift, the university said, “also will support arts programs throughout the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, including new university uses for the Loeb Drama Center.”
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