THIS WEEK
Cover News
Opinion A & E
Sports Intramurals
Calendar Comics
 
YH FEATURES
Exclusive
Archives/Search
Planet of Sound
Speak Your Mind
Pick the Pros
Crossword
 
ONLINE TOOLS
Ground Zero
Sublet Search
Rideboard
Book Shopper
Blue Book Search
 
ABOUT US
the Yale Herald
YH Online
 


Yale earmarks $250 million for art facilities renewal

By Leslie Cozzi

This is not the first time Sid R. Bass, TD '65, has donated a chunk of change to help out the humanities at Yale.

A Fort Worth, Tex., resident, Bass has been a long time player in Yale's fundraising arena. A former Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation, his name tops the list of donors who helped fund the 1990 renovations of William Harkness Hall, and appears again on other fundraising projects, from the Linsley-Chittenden renovations to faculty endowments and classroom improvement work.
DAVID GEST/YH
A recent donation of $20 million will go into the revamping of the Paul Rudolph Art and Architecture buliding, located at the corner of York and Chapel Streets.

His latest gift, a cool $20 million earmarked for the renovations of the Art and Architecture building at the corner of York and Chapel Streets has again made him the darling of the Yale fundraising world. "Once again, Sid Bass has answered the call and directed a generous gift to an area of major priority for the University," University President Richard Levin, GRD '74, said. "By restoring [renowned architect Paul] Rudolph's iconic building, his gift will provide extraordinary spaces to inspire generations of architecture students and permit the expansion of our distinguished arts library." He also hoped that the gift would encourage others to support their ambitious plans for the arts, which, he said, "will contribute so much to the life of Yale and New Haven."

Bass himself discussed his most recent donation with boyish reminiscence, saying he was delighted to provide support for the historically significant building. In fact, as an undergraduate he was so moved by the hulking concrete structure that the designer and the budding millionaire Bass developed a personal rapport of sorts. "As an undergraduate, I was deeply moved by the bold innovations of the Paul Rudolph Art and Architecture building," he said. "This led to a long working relationship with Paul, who completed for me a residence in the early '70s and two office buildings in the early '80s."

The Art and Architecture building renovation is just a small part of an arts overhaul the Yale administration has dubbed the "Arts Area Plan." Centered on York and Chapel Streets and meant to foster a flourishing and closely linked arts community, the Administration is touting the plan as more than a facilities upgrade. The $250 million undertaking is being billed as a renewal of Yale's dedication to its already top-ranked arts facilities, program by program, as well as presenting a reunified arts front to Yale students and New Haven proper.

Levin dismissed the suggestion that the plan is a response to dissatisfaction in any quarter. "It's really seizing an opportunity," he said. "The new building shared by the Art School and the Drama Experimental Theater was just a first step. We thought it was a good time to unveil the whole plan for wider public discussion." The plan has been in the works since 1994, according to Levin, and the first phase took place before the Administration's formal unveiling in late October.

The Yale Center for British Art reopened in January of 1999 after renovation, and the School of Art has just moved to its new facility in Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall, but much work is left to be done. The classroom facilities of the Yale School of Drama will be consolidated into one building on York Street, and the Yale Repertory and University Theaters will each get refurbished. The Yale University Art Gallery will be expanded to include Street Hall and the Old Art Gallery, and will be structured to create a traffic flow on the third and fourth floors so patrons can walk through without ever retracing their steps or going outside. It will also include state-of-the-art lighting and temperature controls.

A new facility will also be designed to provide art object instruction as well as padding for projected future expansion. The History of Art department gets a new home as well: a 70,000 square foot complex adjacent to the Rudolph building on York Street, designed in part to address the space constraints placed upon the Arts Library by its current dwelling in the basement of the Rudolph building.

Right now, the Architecture School is waiting patiently. Anticipating the gift from Bass, it moved ahead on a partial renovation of the second floor gallery in time for the Fall 2000 Exhibition series on Wed., Sept. 6.

However, the completion of work will have to be done in tandem with the new History of Art building. Under the Arts Area Plan, the 100,000 volume library will span the ground floor and basement of both buildings. As Architecture Dean Robert Stern, ARCH '65, confirmed, " it's a bit of a domino pattern we're involved with here."

Currently, no architect has been appointed to head the project, though Stern was optimistic, and said he expected the project to move quickly. If these renovation plans are any indication, Yale—a long-time research university—is demonstrating renewed commitment to the arts.

Back to News...

 

 


All materials © 2000 The Yale Herald, Inc., and its staff.
Got any questions, comments, or advice? Email the online editors at
online@yaleherald.com.
Like to join us?