The Arts Center
The Paul Mellon Arts Center was a gift of benefactor Paul Mellon '25. The building, dedicated in 1972, was designed by award-wining architect I. M. Pei who is perhaps best known for the East Wing of the National Gallery, for which the Arts Center served as a prototype, and for the pyramid-shaped entry to the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Until recently it was cost prohibitive to renovate the more than 40-year-old iconic building, which is home to the School's academic arts program, including its Arts Concentration program in music, theater, and the visual arts.
In 0ctober 2015, the School received a $10 million gift to renovate the Main Stage theater, which will be named the William T. Little '49 and Frances A. Little Theater in recognition of the donors' lifetime giving to the School.
A substantial portion of the $10 million gift will be used to refurbish the building's major components, including the lobby; the 770-seat main theater; the experimental theater; scenery shop, and Green Room. In addition to upgrading the space for theatergoers with physical disabilities, the Little Theater will also provide access for the hearing impaired including assisted listening devices.
“Mr. and Mrs. Little's generosity will allow us to make the building contemporary again, placing it at the forefront of arts education in America." Dr. Alex D. Curtis, Head of school
The eastern portion, or triangle wing of the Paul Mellon Arts Center provides additional gallery space, and 5 floors of fine arts studios, music classrooms, 15 music practice rooms and a 100-seat two-story Recital Hall.
The buildings art studios were designed with natural light for painting, drawing, mixed media, weaving, computer graphics, architectural design and with two balconies over the gallery providing additional flexible space for the creative process.
The Paul Mellon Arts Center Galleries include a 90 foot long uninterrupted arc of wall space in the theater lobby and a larger gallery across the courtyard that offers ample space for exhibiting the work of students, alumni, professional local and visiting artists.
Throughout the school year there are multiple different exhibitions of work, granting the school and surrounding community the chance to see both new and emerging art as well as work from established artists. The opening receptions allow the opportunity to hear from the exhibiting artists about their personal process and what inspires them to make art.
The galleries are open when school is in session from 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.