It’s far more than a wealthy philanthropist lady’s sitting rooms, but the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center which recently opened at Gonzaga University, does have such quarters. Dedicated to the Washington philanthropist, whose generosity made the arts center possible, an exhibit at the recently opened center includes recreated sitting rooms from Myrtle Woldson’s house, replete with furniture.
But it’s really a side-note to the many features of the 52,000-sf arts center, which recently celebrated its grand opening. The building is both functional and necessary to fulfill the needs of faculty and staff of the university. It includes a 750-seat theater and was designed by Pfeiffer. The building was named for businesswoman and Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson.
As is the case sometimes these days with newly built structures on university campuses, the new arts center is intended not just to meet the growing needs of the music, dance and theater departments and the rest of the campus community, but as a spot for collaboration across disciplines. It also is meant as a foundation block of a planned Arts Village, which will include the Jundt Art Center and Museum.
The newly completed building is accessible through a central lobby that could be called dramatic, given the views of Lake Arthur available from it. The structure has two primary performance spaces: the Fr. Bernard j. Coughlin, S.J. Theater, a 750-seat multipurpose theater with adjustable acoustics; and the Martin and Edwidge Woldson Recital Hall, a rehearsal and recital space which seats 170. The building also includes a multidisciplinary design studio.
Adjacent to the theater is the Woldson Wing, a recreation of the sitting rooms from Myrtle Woldson’s house, that includes her personal furnishings. The exhibit’s series of spaces are meant to educate, but also as a tribute to the donor and her commitment to the arts.