Endicott is a place where theory meets practice, and the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts Is no exception. Through collaboration with the greater North Shore and Boston communities, our Center for the Arts is affording Endicott students the gift of experiential learning through real-world partnerships.
After opening in 2009, The Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts has since become a cultural resource for the community on the North Shore and beyond. Creative energy permeates the building and brings life to all the arts, which are housed under one roof and include three art galleries; a performance hall; black box theater; recording studio; large rehearsal and practice rooms; Mac labs; designated studio spaces for drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, and drafting; a 3D print lab; and a wood shop. All studio, history, and theory classes are held in the center, making it the artistic and cultural heart of the College.
When Endicott College made the commitment to build a major arts center, Dr. Richard E. Wylie, Endicott’s president, requested staff work with the greater North Shore community, general public, and organizations. Since then, the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts has developed ongoing relationships with dozens of non-profit artistic and social service agencies.
One collaboration is with Express Yourself (EXYO), an arts immersion group for Massachusetts youth that provides opportunities for internships and exhibits. Serving young people from more than 52 cities and towns, the organization and its mission challenge the myths surrounding mental illness and at-risk youth with programming funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.
Another agency we collaborate with is Symphony by the Sea. Our partnership began with the goal of connecting students to great classical music and providing instruction for students by Symphony players. Collaborations with this all-professional orchestra have included opera choruses with the Endicott Singers, live demonstrations by Symphony players and Endicott dancers, lectures by Symphony players, and the most recent collaboration with Endicott Singers in West Side Story.
We’ve also launched a partnership with the Boston Ballet to bring world-class dance instruction to the College. Through this collaboration, our students have studied with Boston Ballet instructors and interned with the organization. Alumni have gone on to be full-time employees in Boston Ballet studios and in its outreach programs. Boston Ballet II dancers and Boston Ballet School students perform at Endicott, and principals from the company deliver lectures and master classes for our students and the community.
Gloucester Stage Company (GSC) is another partnership that affords students the opportunity to attend a variety of complimentary productions, such as the classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Our students attend master classes taught by guest artists like Joe Short (Shakespeare) and Bob Walsh (Stage Combat). GSC creates custom internships focusing on students' specific talents and interests, including education, marketing, production, stage management, scenery, lighting and costume design.
Mark Towner, dean of visual and performing arts at Endicott, also hosts an arts administration guest lecture series for students and the public that highlights professionals from many of the agencies with which the Center collaborates. Annually, guest lecturers from the Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, Harvard Art Museums, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, among others, address careers in the arts for Towner’s arts administration students.
As a community-oriented cultural organization, the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts also collaborates with many departments across the Endicott campus. One of our larger annual events is the President’s Holiday Open House in December. More than 350 people participate in the festivities, which include live entertainment, refreshments, and a visit from Santa Claus. A second major event that the Center hosts in the spring is the Senior Thesis Conference, a celebration and review of thesis projects from the eight undergraduate schools of the College. All seniors and the faculty attend the celebration, with guests from the community, Board of Trustees, and President’s Council.
Collaboration is the key to success for both students and non-profit cultural agencies. As we look to the future of the arts center here at Endicott, we anticipate even more partnerships, because working together is what creates our vibrant community.
To learn more about the arts at Endicott, contact The Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-998-7700.