Arts Extravaganza!


Art exhibit, jazz fest, concert, building tour, dinner and mini-reunion: Brooks School's Center for the Arts Opening Celebration was all of that — and more.

More than 200 alumni, students, faculty and friends came together on campus April 26 to toast the creation of our stunning Center for the Arts and successful conclusion of the School's $60 million, five-year Campaign for Brooks.


"It was a great evening," said Associate Director of Alumni Programs Carly Churchill '10. "The event was a fun and unique mix of people: past parents, architects of the building, current parents, alumni and the current students showing off their musical and artistic talents. It was a fantastic coalescence of the Brooks community, past, present, and future!"

Head of School John Packard H'87, P'18, P'21 also appreciated the special get-together that this event provided. "The highlight for me was being able to celebrate with over 200 Brooksians who represented the whole school community — students, faculty, staff, alums, parents, past parents, trustees," said Packard. "To enjoy the space and great company together was great fun!"


It was activity-filled, as well. When the event kicked off at 6 p.m., guests were free to explore the $28 million building (which opened in October) for an hour. Visitors checked out the building's 2D and 3D studios (within which student artwork was displayed); costume and scene shops; photography studio and dark room; Black Box theater, and ensemble rooms.


Art was on display in the rooms and hallways, too, including photography by Grammy Award-winning folklorist Bill Ferris '60 and photographers Molly Bingham '86, Frick Byers '84 and Hannah Latham '17; painting by artists Tjasa Owen '89, Albert Nascimento '10 and Jim Sperber '87; plus an installation created by kinetic sculptor Tim Prentice '49.



Meanwhile, a talented lineup of current students entertained guests throughout the building. Concert Chorale, Advanced Jazz Ensemble and others offered demonstrations:

  • Afternoon activities dancers workshopped routines for their upcoming showcase.
  • 3D artists created pottery in the ceramics studio.
  • Journalism students tinkered with the school newspaper using Adobe InDesign in the digital media room.


"Seeing the Center for the Arts so vibrant and full of life with that many people was my favorite part of the event," said Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Programs Nicole Mallen Jackson '95.

"People were just amazed by the space," she added. "Many told me they wished it had been here when they were students, and that they would have taken so many more arts classes!"

At 7 p.m., Packard offered brief remarks to all gathered, including current students who had joined visitors in the theater to hear alumni performers sing. And sing did they ever!

Former Brooks School choir director Stephanie Kacoyanis '01 treated listeners to a rendition of "Habanera," from the opera Carmen.


Kenny Harmon '93 and English teacher Shaunielle McDonald '94, P'19 performed "Wheels of a Dream," from Ragtime. "It was a reprise of a duet that they did about 10 years ago, when they came back and were part of the musical with students," noted Jackson.


After the singers wrapped, current students departed, leaving the adults to enjoy cocktails, conversation and a bite to eat. (Fish tacos with avocado mousse; steak and tater-tot skewers; poke bowls with salmon, tuna or sweet chili chicken; short ribs or steak; as well as raspberry mousse parfait, brownies and cupcakes were just a few of the items on the menu of hearty appetizers).

"The whole night just had great vibes," Jackson reported. "Everyone seemed so happy to be there and so excited about not only the building itself but by what is currently, and will be in the future, created in that space."

As Packard wrote in a recent piece for the architects who created the Center for the Arts, Ann Beha, "We are astounded on a daily basis by the degree to which the design and feel of the building has transformed the center of our campus, extended our ability to be together as a community, and put us in touch with aspirations in music, theater, and visual art, previously out of reach. ...It is so exciting to think ahead about what this facility will mean for the school community over the years ahead."

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