Two Princeton University alumni who are brothers have contributed $15 million for a dance building and theater that will be part of Princeton University’s proposed arts and transit neighborhood, university officials announced today.
The Wallace Dance Building and Theater will be named for Monte J. Wallace and Neil W. Wallace. Monte is a member of the Class of 1953. Neil is a member of the Class of 1955. The building will house performance spaces, including a black box theater, rehearsal and teaching spaces, and faculty offices.
“We have made great strides in establishing Princeton as a leader in integrating the creative and performing arts into the broader curriculum,” University President Shirley M. Tilghman said in a news release about the donation. “Thanks to the Wallaces’ generosity, our students will soon have much-needed spaces in which to pursue their artistic visions, both in rehearsal and performance. I am grateful to Monte and Neil for giving them such a beautiful ‘stage’ on which to perfect and demonstrate their talents.”
The arts complex is intended to relieve competition for classroom, rehearsal and performance space, allowing more students to take classes in dance, act on the stage or play in an orchestra, university officials said. Performance spaces will include a dance theater in the new building with flexible seating for 120 and a theater with flexible seating for 150. The 58,000-square-foot, multi-story Wallace Dance Building and Theater will be one of three structures in the arts complex near University Place and Alexander Street that are designed by architect Steven Holl. The other two are a music building and a building designated primarily to house offices for the Lewis Center for the Arts and the fellows in the school’s creative and performing arts program. The structures will be part of a larger arts and transit neighborhood that also includes a new train station and a new restaurant and café.
The Regional Planning Board of Princeton will begin public hearings on the project tomorrow night. While residents are supportive of the arts portion of the project, some are unhappy with the transit plan because it involves moving the Dinky station. If the plan is approved, infrastructure work (moving the Dinky station tracks, for example) could begin in the spring of 2013, with groundbreaking in 2014 and completion in 2017.
The Wallace gift is part of Aspire, the University’s five-year fundraising campaign that concluded on June 30.