For Eagle Hill School, the Cultural Center is:
- A place for students to learn, create, exhibit, and perform. Eagle Hill’s fine and performing arts programs had outgrown their previous homes on campus. Cramped, ill-equipped arts facilities had begun to place limits on students’ and faculty’s creative possibilities. The new Cultural Center provides two state-of-the-art performing spaces for drama, music, and dance; well equipped classrooms for music, visual art, and graphics; a recording studio; an art studio; gallery spaces; and a large woodshop with a full complement of tools…all designed to facilitate great teaching, flexible learning, and limitless student accomplishment.
- A place for students and families to meet and celebrate. At last, the Abby Theatre provides a place—besides the gymnasium—for the school community to meet as one body for assemblies, lectures, and talent shows, and even larger events during Family Weekends, such as Commencement. The new Dining Commons has become the ideal venue for any events involving food—our favorite kind of occasion—from Sports Banquets and the Senior Roast, to Family Weekend functions such as the Baccalaureate Dinner.
- A place for students to learn deeply by connecting ideas, skills, and experience in innovative ways that draw on the arts:
~ Where students to encounter the performing arts, and learn from performing artists, through our public programming. Public programming events enrich campus cultural life, speaking to student interests while inviting students to enlarge their sphere of taste and experiences and to encounter various cultures, viewpoints, and worldviews. Importantly, all visiting performing artists personally engage students in some way, from workshops and master classes to lectures to informal shared meals. When possible, these opportunities are connected to existing curricula or other campus projects. For example, a performer from our Global Sounds series might be a guest in a Global Studies course.
~ Where students encounter the visual arts, and learn from visual artists, through our gallery program. The work of students, faculty, and local and regional artists is exhibited in Gallery Spaces throughout the Cultural Center. Each exhibiting artist is asked to personally engage students in some way, whether guest-teaching a class, conducting a workshop, or giving a talk. Again, we try to connect these experiences with work already happening in classes or on campus: an art exhibit that explores humans’ responsibility to the environment might become an entry point for a unit in Earth Science or Biology class.
~ Where students grow as artists and learners though STAR (Students, Teachers, Artists-in-residence), our interdisciplinary artist-in-residence program. Each semester, a few accomplished artists of various disciplines are invited to live and create art on campus, taking advantage of the Cultural Center’s unparalleled facilities while working beside students and modeling the creative process. Each artist joins a small team of faculty that designs customized, interdisciplinary learning adventures that contribute to student learning while helping the artist develop as an artist-educator.
~ Where students grow as citizens and apply their learning in authentic ways through our student internship program. Students have a hand in every aspect of the Cultural Center. Arts Management interns help to manage the budget and to craft marketing and publicity initiatives. Gallery interns work with artists to create, publicize, and show their exhibits. Technical Theater interns interface with performing artists to plan and execute theatrical lighting, sound, and rigging for a wide range of productions. In all these activities, mentors and students make conscious connections between the work and classroom learning in subjects as diverse as mathematics, physics, and pragmatics.
- A place for new urban teachers to grow into effective educators. The Cultural Center provides the facilities to expand our acclaimed, week-long, summer teacher training institutes that have helped to nurture educational professionals and increase teacher retention in Worcester, Springfield, Boston, Fitchburg, and Framingham.