Gonzaga University's Woldson Performing Arts Center Honored with USITT Merit Award

November 30, 2021
Gonzaga University’s Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center has been honored with a Merit Award from the prestigious United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT). Comprised of a 750-seat multipurpose theater, a recital/rehearsal hall with telescoping seating for 168, an interdisciplinary design studio, and an interactive exhibit of the recreated sitting rooms of Myrtle Woldson’s house, in tribute to the donor, a Spokane native, successful businesswoman and supporter of the arts, the Center met the client’s goals of flexible performance and pedagogical spaces that both provided professional level facilities and equipment. It also created an iconic performing arts center that establishes the importance of the arts on the Gonzaga campus and broadens that reach with the inclusion of the Design Lab, that fosters the University’s goal of a cross pollination of the arts and other academic disciplines. The Spokane community benefits with new, state-of-the-art mid-size performance venues with spacious lobbies at ground and balcony levels, offering curtainwall views of Lake Arthur and the Spokane river, to accommodate special events. The Spokane River inspired the Center’s design; the force of its flow, divided by boulders, is echoed in the positions of the building’s three bar-shaped forms, slighting rotated apart from each other. The interior of the multipurpose theater extends the metaphor, referencing the topography and flora of the river, with climbing vines and tree canopy shapes, striated walls mimicking the cracked rock walls of the riverbanks, and the a ripple pattern in the carpet.