Virginia Tech is putting the arts front and center with its new $100 million arts complex named for a working artist.
The new building will be called, the ‘Moss Arts Center,’ for painter and philanthropist, Patricia Buckley Moss, known for her pastel portrayals of rural life and landscape in Virginia. Moss became a successful artist after a teacher recognized her intelligence and potential, despite her difficulty with reading. Still a working artist at 80 years old, she also advocates for incorporating the arts into education.
“There are so many students who are not academically inclined, so many of us who have dyslexia, learn differently and if you teach us well we will give you gifts that you will not get any other way," said Moss.
Moss’s $10-million gift was the largest private donation the university received for the new building. Its 147,000 square feet hold theaters, galleries, studios, the communications department and a research institute. The institute for creative arts and technology and its experimental space known as ‘the cube’ comprise what promises to be an unprecedented melding of arts and science at a university. And while the school has long been known for it’s focus on tech, University President Charles Steger says the Moss Arts Center is a testament to how important the arts are, to a well rounded education.
“The arts play an essential role in our mission because the role of the university goes far beyond preparing our students just for work. We want to prepare them for life. Great institutions help their students learn to solve problems, but also how to see problems, to feel and to think and to develop perspectives that will allow them to thrive in today’s multicultural society,” he said.
The inaugural performance in the theater at the Moss Arts Center is by the Philip Glass Ensemble November 1st.