A! Magazine for the Arts

UVa-Wise Fine Arts Facility Named in Honor of Gilliam Family

November 15, 2009

*** Published Nov. 9, 2009, in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier. ***

WISE, Va. – The new $14.4 million fine and performing arts facility at the University of Virginia's College at Wise was officially named the Gilliam Center for the Arts by the college's board.

The name was chosen to honor the Gilliam family, which has a history of advocacy for education and cultural activities throughout the region and beyond, and in particular for UVa-Wise, the college said in a written statement announcing the decision. Family matriarch Betty J. Gilliam is a professor emeritus of art at the

The Gilliam Center, which opened in August and received its new name with a board decision in October, brings together UVa-Wise's fine and performing arts programs under one roof for the first time in the college's history. "The Gilliam Center for the Arts is the crown jewel of the campus," Chancellor David J. Prior said in the written statement. "It is a facility that serves not only the college but the entire region."

Betty J. Gilliam arrived at the college in 1960, and quickly brought fine art to the community by borrowing pieces from the Virginia Museum of Art for exhibit at the college. She organized the art exhibit at the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair and taught art at remote sites throughout Southwest Virginia. She was instrumental in establishing the public library in Wise and assisted in the setup of the Harris Gallery.The new Gilliam Center includes:

* A visual arts area
with studio space and updated technology in its ceramics and paper arts studios.
* A music section with rehearsal spaces for bands and choirs, state-of-the-art digital audio and piano labs, student practice rooms with built-in recording and playback capabilities, and a dedicated one-on-one teaching studio.
* A full-scale theater that is still in progress, and will have scenic and costume studios, a rehearsal studio and a courtyard suitable for performances. When finished later this year, the theater also will feature robotic lighting, a computer-driven winch system, a large motorized turntable and a digital audio console with
editing and playback software

For more information, contact the office of college relations at (276) 328-0130.