January 2016 marked the beginning of a new era for the arts at Eastern Connecticut State University with the opening of the beautiful, modern Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC). This 118,000-square foot facility is the new home of Eastern’s Art & Art History, Theatre and Music programs, as well as the University’s Art Gallery. The new center provides lecture, rehearsal, studio, dance and performance spaces that will allow faculty and students to fully explore their creativity and share it with campus audiences as well as local and regional patrons.
The FAIC is the latest chapter in the storied history of the arts at Eastern, dating back to the University’s beginnings as the Willimantic State Normal School in 1889. An appreciation of the arts and opportunities for artistic expression have been fundamental to student learning throughout our history, and form the basis for Eastern’s commitment to providing all students with artistic experiences as a component of their liberal arts education.
Today the arts at Eastern span three distinct yet symbiotic programs — music, theatre, and art & art history. Alone and together, they provide theoretical knowledge and hands-on instruction to students; showcase student and faculty creative work; and reinforce the essential role that the arts play in a civilized, democratic society.
Theatre students have studied in London, Japan and Los Angeles, performed off-Broadway and created site-specific theatrical productions in Hawaii. The Eastern Concert Chorale, Eastern Concert Band and other musical ensembles perform more than 30 concerts a year, bringing their music to local audiences and to such locations as Carnegie Hall, the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Vienna, Austria. Visual Arts faculty and students continue to conduct art research, exhibit at museums and galleries, and create public art to extend their reach into the local and regional communities. Visual Arts students and their faculty have also studied in Australia, China, Cuba, England, Ireland, Italy and New Zealand.