Middlebury

Mahaney Center for the Arts

Mahaney Center for the Arts

 

The Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts serves as a hub of arts activity on campus. Opened in 1992 as the Middlebury College Center for the Arts, this visual and performing arts facility serves the College and the surrounding communities. Its primary purpose is to provide an environment for the creation of art, and to invite audiences to experience the work of local, national, and international artists.  The building was renamed in 2007, helping to usher in its 15th anniversary season.

Known on campus as the "MCA," the Mahaney Center for the Arts is home to the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the black-box style Seeler Studio Theatre, the dance theatre, and a stunning 370-seat recital hall. The academic year is filled with a variety of exciting performances and exhibitions, offering our college community a unique opportunity to participate in the arts.

In spring 2014, we welcomed back Rehearsals Cafe, with beverage service and light fare from 8:30 AM-2:30 PM Monday-Friday, plus some performance evenings, during the academic year.

The arts extend beyond the walls of the MCA as well, with film and media culture programs in Dana Auditorium and the Axinn Center, theatre productions in Wright Theatre and the Hepburn Zoo, studio art shows in Johnson, independent student exhibitions in the Center Gallery in McCullough, special events in Mead Chapel, and more.

Read more about the architecture of the Mahaney Center for the Arts here,

with a description by Director of the Arts Glenn Andres.

Find the MCA

on Route 30 South/Main Street, about 1/2 mile south of town. Our street address is:

72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, Vermont 05753

Find us on google maps here.

 

Look up our hours of operation here.

 

Looking for a member of our staff?

Check our profiles here.

About Our Architecture

MCFA

The Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts was designed and built by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (1987–1992) as a venue for art exhibition and performance (including a surround concert hall, a studio theater, and a dance performance space), as well as a home for academic programs in theater, music, and dance.

In this facility Middlebury acquired not only a lively center for its varied arts enterprises but also an instructive work of art in its own right. Its designers set out with purpose to make it challenging, surprising, irreverent—anything but easy to take for granted. They wanted to pose problems and stimulate responses on the part of its users that would bring into focus many of the issues that post-modern architects were confronting as they sought to move away from the impersonal universal solutions, ideal Platonic forms, and “less is more” philosophy of the High International Style.

Concert Hall
While accommodating specific functional programs with distinct identities in what amount to almost independent sub-buildings, they also created a deconstructive collage through the collision of two organizational systems—the orthogonal grid of a huge clapboarded shed (expressed with blue columns, exposed beams, skylights and courtyard paving patterns) and a great circle that spins off tangentially-related satellite volumes of distinctive forms and materials—cyclopean pink granite, gray granite curbstones, metal tiles. Contrasting textures and colors ensure the simultaneous reading of the component parts and competing systems.
Vocabularies are juxtaposed in startling ways—high culture William Morris papers and flake board; custom-crafted baroque cherry railings and corrugated fiberglass; rusticated stone and vernacular block; found-object runway landing lights and warehouse fixtures. Expressions of interior and exterior become confused. Concepts of cubism are made material as varied pathways, balconies, and angled staircases lead the viewer through changing perspectives of indeterminate space over time. As is the case with the art displayed in its galleries and taking place within its performance halls, the Mahaney Center for the Arts is an invitation to experience, ponder, question, and arrive at new perceptions.

Glenn M. Andres
Christian A. Johnson Professor of Art
Director of the Arts

 

Jonathan Borofsky (American, born 1942)

I dreamed I could fly at 3,876,225, 1984–1992

Acrylic on urethane foam, 19 1/2 x 58 x 39 inches. Gift of the Overbrook Foundation. 1995.009

Location: Lobby of the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Although Jonathan Borofsky’s I dreamed I could Fly at 3,876,225 may initially seem ominous—the sculpture of a human figure appears just to have leapt into space—the title confines this flying figure’s mission to the realm of dreams.

Borofsky acknowledges that almost all of his art consists of self-portraits; he has explored the concept of dreaming in his work since the early 1970s. He often includes imagery culled from his dreams, as in I Dreamed I was taller than Picasso at 2,047,324 (1973). Counting systems, implied by the large numbers in the titles of many of his works, are also a recurring theme.

Jonathan Borofsky, I dreamed I could fly at 3,876,225

(Photo: Tad Merrick)

I dreamed I could Fly at 3,876,225 places the fantasy world of the dream in juxtaposition with the concrete and conceptual act of counting. In this whimsical sculpture, Borofsky seems to create a visual record of one moment in an endless series of moments, both real and imagined.

Lorenzo Ghiglieri (American, born 1931)

The Middlebury Panther, 1997

Bronze, over life-size. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip H. Morse and Shelley H. Morse, Class of 1995. 1997.022

Location: Youngman Field and Alumni Stadium

The symbolic function of animals has made them ubiquitous presences in western art. Rulers often commissioned sculptures of their heraldic counterparts from the animal world and used them to represent either themselves or their realms. No image evoked greater awe—from antiquity through the nineteenth century—than equestrian statues of rulers astride a horse.

American colleges and universities typically have animals that serve as their mascots. The black Panther was chosen as Middlebury’s after a local merchant established a contest to choose an appropriate symbol for the college in 1922. The sculpture was commissioned from the artist and is sited at the entrance to Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. Surveying the playing fields, the Middlebury Panther is a fierce beast, apparently stalking its prey from atop a mighty boulder.

Lorenzo Ghiglieri, The Middlebury Panther

(Photo: Tad Merrick)

Patrick Dougherty (American, born 1945)

So Inclined, 2007

Red maple saplings and grey dogwood. Commissioned as a temporary deposit by the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy.

Location: Front lawn of the Mahaney Center for the Arts, on view 2007-2011

An internationally known artist who has produced site-specific works in a variety of private and public locations around the globe, Patrick Dougherty created So Inclined at the entrance to the College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts in September 2007.

Patrick Dougherty, So Inclined

(Photo: Tad Merrick)

Working in full view of all who passed by, the artist was assisted by more than 250 volunteers from all segments of the community—from pre-schoolers to Middlebury studio artists to retired residents. Captured on video by Daniel Houghton, Middlebury Class of 2006, Dougherty’s project was shown in real time on the College’s webpage and also drew wide media attention. Using red maple saplings and grey-twig dogwood that was donated to the College and harvested locally, the artist to constructed nine towering interconnected cones comprised of woven sticks. Straddling the sidewalk at the entrance plaza to the building, So Inclined engages the imagination of all who pass by, and those who approach its vaulted interiors find immediate access and shelter.


Video documentary of Dougherty’s residence, produced by Daniel Houghton ’08

To view the video of So Inclined’s removal, click here.

Patrick Dougherty, So Inclined

Patrick Dougherty (American, born 1945) So Inclined, 2007, Red maple saplings and grey dogwood. Commissioned as a temporary deposit by the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy. On view 2007-2011. (Photo: Tad Merrick) Location: Front lawn of the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Patrick Dougherty, So Inclined (display)

Patrick Dougherty (American, born 1945) So Inclined [detail], 2007 Red maple saplings and grey dogwood. Commissioned as a temporary deposit by the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy. (Photo: Tad Merrick) Location: Front lawn of the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Clement Meadmore (American, born Australia, 1929–2005)

Around and About, 1971

Painted aluminum, 7 feet x 11 feet x 7 feet 3 inches. Gift of Ken and Linda Wilson 2000.032

Location: Pond behind the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Clement Meadmore’s repeated and characteristic use of geometric but fluid shapes relects his training as an aeronautical engineer.

Like many of Meadmore’s mature sculptures, Around and About consists of two basic geometric forms, square and a quarter circle, extended into space. The black, matte finish of the surfaces unifies the overall effect.

Clement Meadmore, Around and About

(Photo: Tad Merrick)

Around and About resolves the tensions between closed form and its extension into space, and achieves stability and balance while implying motion. Meadmore combined the geometric forms of contemporary Minimalist art with the expressive potential of artistic gesture derived from earlier Abstract Expressionism.

Robert Indiana (American, born 1928)

LOVE, 1973

Painted aluminum, 6 x 6 x 3 feet. Gift of Ken and Linda Wilson. 2000.031

Location: Pond behind the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Robert Indiana’s LOVE is the most frequently quoted artistic image of recent times. Capturing both a historic moment and sensibility with its bold graphic design, it has appeared as greeting card, jewelry design, and United States postage stamp. The contrast between cool formalist lettering and the emotive significance of the word “love” produces a tension characteristic of Indiana’s work.

Although often grouped with the Pop artists, Indiana considers himself a “sign painter.” His work recalls the flat primary colors and hard edges of early Americana. Indiana first created the design of LOVE as a Christmas card in 1964. He subsequently exhibited a series of paintings and the first three-dimensional version of the image in New York in 1966.

Once co-opted by the Youth Movement, LOVE has evolved over time into a universally recognized, ageless icon.

Robert Indiana, LOVE

Dan Graham (American, born 1942)

Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth, 1996

Glass, steel, Arborvitae nigra, Height: 7 1/2 feet, radius: 15 feet. Purchase with funds from the Overbrook Foundation and the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, with contributions from the Middlebury College Frederick and Martha Lapham Art Acquisition Fund and the Walter Cerf Art Fund. 1996.067

Location: Courtyard of the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Dan Graham’s Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth invites active participation while continuing the artist’s ongoing investigation of the dynamics of public space. Unlike pavilions traditionally erected in gardens and parks, Graham’s do not have any apparent practical function, and they blur the boundaries between architecture and sculpture.

Dan Graham, Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth

(Photo: Tad Merrick)

Graham designed this work to be experienced both from outside and within. The translucent, mirrored glass surface redefines the relationships between object and viewer, viewers inside and outside the pavilion, the object and its surroundings. The reflections of sun and skyscape shift with unceasing variation when the weather is beautiful, as well as echoing the drabness of overcast days. The juxtaposition of industrial and commercial materials with living hedges serves to conjoin nature and the constructs of society.

This pavilion was designed specifically for its site on the plaza of the Middlebury College Center for the Arts. Similar pavilions adorn the rooftops of the Dia Center in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Dan Graham, Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth

Dan Graham (American, born 1942) Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth, 1996 Glass, steel, Arborvitae nigra, Height: 7 1/2 feet, radius: 15 feet. Purchase with funds from the Overbrook Foundation and the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, with contributions from the Middlebury College Frederick and Martha Lapham Art Acquisition Fund and the Walter Cerf Art Fund. 1996.067 (Photo: Tad Merrick) Location: Courtyard of the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Dan Graham, Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth (display)

Dan Graham (American, born 1942) Two-Way Mirror Curved Hedge Zig-Zag Labyrinth, 1996, glass, steel, Arborvitae nigra, Height: 7 1/2 feet, radius: 15 feet. Purchase with funds from the Overbrook Foundation and the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, with contributions from the Middlebury College Frederick and Martha Lapham Art Acquisition Fund and the Walter Cerf Art Fund. 1996.067 Location: Courtyard of the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Buky Schwartz (American, born Jerusalem, 1932–2009)

Plato’s Cave, 1990

Steel, video camera, video monitors. Acquired by the College for the Center for the Arts on the occasion of its inauguration. 1992.007

Location: Foyer of the Mahaney Center for the Arts

Plato’s Cave explores the contradiction between what the mind knows and the eye can see. By turning the camera axis ninety degrees and placing it at the focal point of the sculpture, Schwartz forces us to acknowledge that what we see on the screen is actually an illusion. Through the medium of video, we are likened to inhabitants of Plato’s cave in the Seventh Book of The Republic: with their backs to the world, they face the wall of the cave, reading flickering shadows as reality.

Buky Schwartz, Plato's Cave

Buky Schwartz, Plato's Cave

Buky Schwartz (American, born Jerusalem, 1932–2009) Plato’s Cave, 1990 Steel, video camera, video monitors. Acquired by the College for the Center for the Arts on the occasion of its inauguration. 1992.007 Location: Foyer of the Mahaney Center for the Arts
Where is the Mahaney Center for the Arts?

The Middlebury College Center for the Arts is located on Route 30 south (Main Street), 4/10 mile south of downtown Middlebury, adjacent to the College athletic complex.

The street address is:
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753

Find us on google maps here.

 

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