EDITORIAL: NBPAC is making art bigger, better
New 22-story complex will create great space for performances
New Brunswick is trying to improve all aspects of the community by building the new New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC). And by getting involved in its creation with the New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco), Rutgers is giving back to its community and students. Construction for the NBPAC officially broke ground last Wednesday and the celebration was met by speeches from Rutgers and New Brunswick leaders. But this is not just any ordinary performing arts center. The NBPAC, which will be built between the College Avenue and Douglass campuses, will be a 22-story complex. This complex will feature two theaters, three rehearsal stages and many other amenities. The entire performing arts center will cost $190 million.
Projected to be located between the George Street Playhouse and CrossRoads Theatre, the NBPAC is set to open in the Fall of 2019 and will be a testament to the importance of theatre and arts to the Rutgers and New Brunswick community.
The main focus of the NBPAC is diversity, according to the Board President of Crossroads Theater Anthony Carter. It is also meant to enhance the community’s understanding of culture and the journey of theatre programs within the city. In the past, some theatres have reduced their budgets because of losing their audiences, but now these projects have been able to receive the footing they needed in order to grow. But these worries are not as apparent with the construction of the NBPAC. Rutgers and community officials and leaders are predicting that NBPAC will work to the advantage of the culture, economic development and job growth of the city. With an intended collaboration between University students, visiting artists and administration from all of the cultural centers, NBPAC is going to benefit the intended urban economic development that is projected for the City of New Brunswick. The hopes for a project of this magnitude is that it will attract the attention of the best of the best even from farther off places, and bring them to the complex to take part in the cultural growth that will be taking place.
With news indicating that arts and humanities programs around the nation might be in danger of being closed or viciously cut in terms of budget, it seems as though Rutgers is proving to be a beacon of hope for the arts, just by its involvement in this project. Not only is the University investing in an arts center, it is creating one that can be described as extremely impressive. Allotting an entire center to the arts is a message of positivity from Rutgers and New Brunswick to the student artists within the University and community. And there are plenty at that. Rutgers is home to the Mason Gross School of the Arts, which is highly esteemed and has also won many awards in terms of its ranking as an elite arts program within the nation. Starting construction on the NBPAC is a means for giving more back to the students and staff that make the program as incredible as it is today. What better way to provide for art students than to give them a space to take their implement their skills?
In a climate where the arts seem to be less and less appreciated, Rutgers is sending the right message with its groundbreaking. The NBPAC is the kind of center that will bring together the University and the city that surrounds it.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this editorial said the total cost of building the performing arts center will be $190 billion. The total cost of will be $190 million.