Belmont dedicates $180 million Fisher Center for the Performing Arts
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Belmont dedicates $180 million Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

Belmont unveiled the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday — an event four years and nine days in the making.

The center, a premier venue built to world-class specifications, stands four stories tall, with roughly 150,000 square feet of space to be used by students and professionals alike.

Named in honor of former university president Bob Fisher, who served in the role for over 20 years, the center commemorates his accomplishments while in office, which included over $1 billion worth of campus expansion projects.

 “The thing that I would like to really emphasize is that this is for our students,” said Fisher, a guest of honor at the event. “I hope that that would be the message sent. We think you’re this good.”

The center contains a massive 1,700-seat opera house, two multipurpose ballrooms, as well as rehearsal space, dressing rooms, and technical facilities behind the scenes.

Hidden details of Fisher’s legacy are imprinted throughout the building, notably the bees lining the classic stone columns on the facade and in the grand lobby. On the inside of the high domed ceiling, twinkling LED stars depict the constellations visible in the night sky on April 1, 2000 — the day the Fishers arrived at Belmont.

The Fisher Center is the largest and most technologically advanced performance venue on campus, designed in the style of a European opera house. Belmont Vision / Ansley Letsinger

The concert hall will host locally and nationally recognized artists, with shows from the Nashville Ballet and the Nashville Opera already on the event calendar.

But Belmont students will also call the stage their own in the coming months.

“The opportunities that we’ll be able to have here are unlike anywhere around the world. No other college student is going to be able to perform in a space like this,” said Avery Goodwin, a senior songwriting and music business double major.

Student productions, including theatre, dance and music, will all use the Fisher Center, starting with the Department of Theatre & Dance’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” which will run Feb. 25-27, 2022.

The university’s nationally televised broadcast of “Christmas at Belmont” will also find its new home at the Fisher Center when it comes back to film this September.

“I could see artists of every genre wanting to perform here,” said Belmont trrustee Marty Dickens.

A bronze statue of Fisher and his wife, Judy, stands outside the building named in their honor.

And Fisher’s philosophy of hard work is engraved on the statue as a reminder of the growth at Belmont to come: 

“You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The statue of Bob and Judy Fisher, created by sculptor Jeffrey Hall, was also unveiled Tuesday. Belmont Vision / Anna Jackson

PHOTO: The banner comes down to reveal the name of the new performing arts center, kept secret from students and faculty until Tusday’s unveiling. Belmont Vision / Anna Jackson

This article was written by Ansley Letsinger and Walker Dixon.

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