The Performing Arts Center
The Performing Arts Center, a four-theatre complex at Purchase College, is the major professional, nonprofit arts presenter in the southeastern New York-southwestern Connecticut region. Located 28 miles northeast of New York City at the Connecticut border, more than 200,000 people attend more than 650 performances, benefits, and events held within its theatres each year.
Dedicated to educating as well as entertaining its audiences, The Center makes a concerted effort to present contrasting influences and traditions in its programming. Each series presents a wide variety of artists and repertoire, including multicultural and “popular” genres, as well as the traditional classics.
This focus, supported by targeted marketing and community outreach efforts, has continued to diversify The Center’s audiences. Series programming is focused on appealing to distinct markets, interest groups, and diverse segments of the community.
The Center’s Arts-in-Education program presents many educational events to more than 20,000 school children, ages 5–18, from area schools each season. These include in-school programs, performing arts workshops, and special performances at The Center. Study guides and other teacher preparatory materials are provided. Master classes with artists featured in The Center’s professional series are presented to conservatory division students on campus. The Center offers free tickets for children with an adult purchase to selected concerts; this has been very successful in encouraging families to attend arts events together.
Creating New Work
Extended residencies, offered to such exceptional artists as Philip Glass, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Bill Irwin, support the creation of new works. Rehearsal and performance space as well as technical and design support is provided free of charge, allowing the artists to create, rehearse, and try out new works on a professional concert hall stage. The Center has a history of presenting artists of exceptional talent before they have reached prominence and a reputation for encouraging experimental productions and avant-garde companies.
The Center has had a strong influence on the development of the arts in Westchester County over the past two decades. It provides an exceptional facility and professional expertise to local arts organizations, from professional symphony orchestras to community dance schools, at half the standard rate. Programming that focuses on the interests of specific communities, supported with targeted outreach activities, has been successful in developing new audiences for The Center.