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University performing arts center on the horizon

When proposing the performing arts center, at the State of the University address on Tuesday, campus officials did not only have the estimated 2,000 arts and humanities students in mind, but the Central Valley as a whole.

An undisclosed number of people have joined the President’s Commission on the Future of Arts and Humanities to plan the project and present students and the community with answers on everything, from a projected completion date to the specific location on campus.

Discussion for a new performing arts center began when Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and Honora Howell Chapman, the dean and associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, came into office.

“We thought the college needed a venue that was accessible to the community, and that was worthy of our productions as well,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “We don’t have a venue that is big enough to accommodate the larger community.”

The absence of a building, such as what is being proposed, has kept the university from displaying the works of Mexican mural-artist Diego Rivera, said Jiménez-Sandoval.

“The support is across the new cabinet,” Howell Chapman said. “The commitment to finding the actual footprint, the space for this building is there as well at the cabinet level.”

The new building will welcome everyone to campus as by Cedar and Chestnut avenues, Howell Chapman said.

The proposed building would do more than beautify the campus. According to Howell Chapman, the project would bring more classroom space and new dorms.

It’s a win-win situation, Jiménez-Sandoval said more classroom space and more reason for Fresno State’s more than 24,000 students to trek to the Shaw Avenue side of the campus.

When asked if this consideration for a new performance art center was more of a possibility or probability, the dean and associate dean said it was a probability.

“I think we have to think that way to make it so, because if you just dwell in the realm of it might happen it won’t happen,” said Howell Chapman.

Jimenez-Sandoval said, “It will be very probable that it will happen because we need it we need something like this. There’s a certain level of maturity that comes with saying ‘I deserve this,’ and we as Fresno State, we as the City of Fresno, we as the Central Valley, we deserve this.”

He added that “the arts infuse these ideas of civility, acceptance, and diversity.”

Jimenez-Sandoval said the Fresno State President Dr. Joseph I. Castro and Provost Dr. Lynnette Zelezny have played a critical role in the project.

“They see the value of how this is for the greater good,” Sandoval said.

Future and newly released information can be found on The College of Arts and Humanities social media @FresnoStateCAH.