The Hopkins Center for the Arts’ Spaulding Auditorium will be closed this summer as workers demolish Brewster Hall and reconfigure the current parking lot and loading dock behind the auditorium, according to associate provost Mary Gorman. The Hop has had to modify its standard summer programming as a result of the loss of space, as Spaulding is the Hop’s largest venue.
Spaulding is expected to be closed for three months, from June 15 to Sept. 15, Gorman said in an interview with The Dartmouth. The project will result in a more welcoming south entrance to Dartmouth’s “arts precinct,” which includes the Hop, the Hood Museum of Art and the proposed Visual Arts Center, Gorman said.
The construction project will also create a small green in place of the current parking lot south of the Hop, presenting a new “way to enter the Hood Museum and get to the Green” from Lebanon Street, Gorman said. This green area may serve a variety of purposes, from a social space to an alternative venue for performances, she said.
“We really want it to say, ‘This is the entry to the arts,'” Gorman said. “And certainly there have been conversations about whether there could be performances here as well, and that will be determined by the students, the faculty and the staff of the Hopkins Center.”
The renovation will also enable the construction of the Visual Arts Center, should the College’s Board of Trustees decide to approve the project during its June meeting.
“One of the main things that’s affected is Hopkins Center film,” Marga Rahmann, general manager and associate director of the Hop, said of Spaulding’s temporary closing.
The Dartmouth Film Society traditionally presents films in Spaulding on Sundays and Wednesdays throughout the year, including Summer term, Rahmann said.
“What we’ve been able to do, with the very generous support of the Hood, is to move those Film Society showings to the Loew,” Rahmann said.
The Film Society, however, will not be able to host any film specials, which usually involve special guests or tributes during these months. There are typically two or three film specials each term, with fewer during the summer, Rahmann said.
Although the summer traditionally features fewer programs, Spaulding’s closing has made it difficult to plan the visiting artist series, Rahmann said.
“It’s been a challenge to think about what we could do with Spaulding offline because [it] has so many more seats,” she said.
The biggest change in programming will be the Hop’s presentation of a “Musicbox Series.” In three events throughout the summer, 100 audience members will be seated on the Moore Theater stage while musicians perform alongside them.
“What’s appealing about them is [their] immediacy and intimacy,” Rahmann said. “That’s not anything you can do in Spaulding.”
The series will feature QQQ, a folk instrumental group with a modern twist, on July 14; Die Roten Punkte, a satirical and edgy German faux brother-sister duo, on July 23; and jazz cellist Erik Friedlander on Aug. 1. Each performer will play two shows.
“We’re really interested to see what student reaction is to [the Musicbox Series], and if this is a more preferred, fun thing to do and try,” Rahmann said.
As in past summers, the Hop will also present a free outdoors event. On June 26, the Green will host Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, a group that offers “a spirited fusion of traditional West African music, roots reggae and rhythmic traditional folk … that transforms and uplifts,” according to its web site.
A Summer term performance by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company will be unaffected by Spaulding’s closing, since it takes place in the Moore Theater.
In addition to Hop programming, Spaulding in past summers has been the venue for the Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth’s popular lecture series. That program will be relocated to Hanover High School, Gorman said.
The Hop will also use the Summer term to experiment with changes to its schedule for film showings in response to data gathered from its recent survey project, the “Cultural Pulse.”
“In the cultural census, one of the things that was really intriguing was an indication that Sunday afternoons would be a time that students would like to see programming,” Rahmann said. “So instead of doing the Loew movie on Sundays at night, we’re going to have a 4 p.m. start time,” Rahmann said.