A new visual arts center will grace the Virginia Peninsula this spring on the campus of Christopher Newport University (CNU).
Currently under construction and recently named, The Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center will open in 2021.
A formal dedication and naming ceremony will be held on campus in the spring, according to Jim Hanchett, chief marketing and communications officer at CNU.
The $60-million art center, funded by the commonwealth, is an 83,000-square-foot facility that will provide extraordinary encounters with the visual arts. The building features a façade of cascading glass domes.
The center will house the Department of Fine Art and Art History and boasts a magnificent main gallery for major exhibitions; a 150-seat auditorium; a community gallery; and studio classrooms for academic as well as public art classes, workshops, and camps. The interactive Art Explorers Gallery for children is set to open in 2022.
An array of changing exhibitions, representing diverse media and periods will be presented. There will be year-round educational programs for audiences of all ages.
Mary Torggler and her husband George, of Maryland and Florida, are longtime supporters of arts and education programs at CNU. Through their generosity, the Torgglers aspire to create unique opportunities for artists in both the performing and visual arts to flourish. Their support already makes possible the university’s renowned Torggler Vocal Institute, and they endowed the George and Mary Torggler Professorship of Music, held by Dr. Mark Reimer. Their son, Hunter Torggler, graduated from CNU in 2014 with a degree in music, noted Hanchett.
“George and Mary Torggler are ardent and powerful advocates for the arts at Christopher Newport and across the country,” said President Paul Trible. “It is fitting that Mary Torggler’s legacy will be associated with a building that brings color and creativity to our campus and contributes powerfully to the cultural and economic success of our community and commonwealth.”
Mary Torggler said, “I am honored by this recognition. As someone who has a fine arts degree, I feel that the arts, both the visual and performing arts, are very beneficial to the soul. They can stimulate your body, boost your energy, connect you to the past and teach you the value of preservation. They are therapeutic and can literally lift the spirits, something we can all use after this trying year.”
Executive Director of the Mary Torggler Center Holly Koons said, “The existence of this magnificent new building is an acknowledgement of the powerful role the visual arts play in building community by fostering cultural engagement and lifelong creativity.”
“The Torggler Center will embrace beloved programs formerly offered by the Peninsula Fine Arts Center while also presenting exciting new opportunities. Adding value to the cultural landscape of the Peninsula and the commonwealth, the Mary M. Torggler Center is a true gift to the community,” she said.