Fine Arts Center opens doors for various student groups

Photos by Alyssa Gurgone

It’s been a long time coming for the arrival of the $8.5 million Fine Arts Center, and now that it’s here, it has brought about new opportunities for students with all kinds of interests at Cary-Grove, as well as the rest of the community.

The Fine Arts Center now features an art gallery where students can display their artwork. Presently, the gallery is displaying Senior Portfolio work, but a different art class will be featured each month of the school year, along with a theme.

“We’re going to try to complement what else is going on in the Fine Art Center,” art teacher Mrs. Mangano said. “When they’re doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor IMG_1912Dreamcoat, we’re going to have a technicolor exhibit. We’re also going to experiment with different ways of hanging art to make it more of an interactive art installation rather than a gallery.”

With more space comes more opportunity to feature the tech crew’s work, as well.

“I don’t know that I can narrow it down to just one thing that I’m excited about,” said Mr. West, the tech crew sponsor. “I’m really excited about the ability to fly scenery, I’m excited for catwalks. There are so many different things it’s hard to specify one.”IMG_1898

Mr. West said scenery no longer has to be made on the performance stage due to the increase in space and the new shop, which is twice the size of the old one. This change not only makes life easier for the tech crew, it benefits every group that shares space with them.

The biggest benefit of the new space is that we will be able to build set, rehearse, and accommodate multiple groups at the same time,” play director Mrs. Whalen said. “In the past, scheduling the available space was difficult and we had to be very careful that we all had the time we needed on stage. Now, we have enough space that we can all work at the same time.”IMG_1873

Mrs. Whalen is also looking forward to utilizing the enormous amount of space in the stage wings, the portion of the stage the audience doesn’t see.

“I’m excited to see what that space allows us to do that we weren’t able to do before,” she said.

The fall play, Little Women, will be the first major event in the fine arts center open to the community.

“Already we are seeing the excitement and buzz that the new Fine Arts Center has created in the community,” Mrs. Whalen said. “I think that will translate to people who haven’t attended a performance here buying a ticket out of curiosity. I think once a new patron sees what we have to offer, they will become regular audience members.”

If the new auditorium brings additional outside interest to C-G productions, the impact could be felt through the student body as well as the community.

“I hope that the new space creates excitement for the students and the community about the performing arts here at CGHS,” Mrs. Whalen said. “Our community is extremely supportive, and we really wanted to give the audience a clean, new, comfortable theater in which to experience the performances.  I hope everyone feels welcome in the new space.”

Regardless of the Fine Arts Center’s short-term impact, Mr. West thinks big things are in store for the future.

“With this new space, and the increased facility size, I can only imagine that more students will have opportunities to do something they enjoy, if not now, in their future,” Mr. West said.

While there may be increased pressure on students and teachers to live up to the heightened expectations of the new space, the overall feeling is one of excitement and gratitude for the opportunity.

“The performing arts staff and all the students involved are so grateful that the Board of Education, the district and superintendent, and the C-G Fine Arts Foundation have expressed their support of the arts at CGHS with this amazing new performance space,” Mrs. Whalen said. “I hope that we are able to make them as proud of the performances that happen on stage as they should be of the beautiful building they have given us.”