Verbum Ultimum: the show must go on
The arts in Dartmouth must maintain their strong offering of programs and performances in light of the temporary closure of the Hopkins Center.
The Hopkins Center for the Arts is a performing arts hub in the Upper Valley. From celebrity guest performances to a capella bands and orchestral concerts to student productions and film screenings – and countless events in between – the Hopkins Center is a gathering place for those who are affiliated. to Dartmouth and the wider region to engage in the arts.
Unfortunately, the community will very soon lose access to this jewel of campus artistic life. Earlier this year, Dartmouth announced the temporary closure of the Hopkins Center while the facility undergoes renovations. Currently, this closure is expected to begin by the end of this year with an estimated reopening in the fall of 2025.
Although the College has provided an overview In where spaces will be housed throughout the renovation — including music and theater departments and jewelry and ceramics studios — many other details remain unclear. Do the big shows – like Pippin apple and LEASE — be performed at all within the next three years? If so, where could the community congregate for these shows, which can attract thousands of attendees? Will the artist-in-residence program continue? We know that smaller activities will be accommodated; students will be able to book practice rooms and small spaces for performances. But few — if any — other spaces on campus have the capacity to squeeze more than a thousand people into one space, let alone the grandeur of the Hopkins Center theaters.
We understand the need for renovations and construction. This move is only temporary and will result in a Hopkins Center that will hopefully be better suited to engaging with these traditions and programs than it is in its current state. However, investing in the arts cannot begin or end with infrastructure. If the College cares about the arts, it is essential that it does everything in its power to keep our performances and programs alive over the next few years.
Of course, Dartmouth isn’t known for its reputation as a ‘school for the arts’. After all, we average about seven theater majors and nine music majors a year. However, this does not take into account students who change their major to music or drama, students who minor in either discipline, or the countless students who are part of a performance group, attend Hop events or take courses in these areas. This editorial board is convinced that Dartmouth students care about the arts. Whether or not the students are part of the arts community, all it takes is a dance or an a capella performance to see people flock to support them. We love performing in plays, managing the stage, attending friends’ shows, learning from the experts, and watching world-class artists give incredible performances.
While some may argue that losing a few years of full-scale performances is a reasonable concession to making long-term improvements to the Hopkins Center, the Hopkins Center is more than just a rehearsal venue for arts clubs – it serves as a center cultural. for the local community. After all, rural New Hampshire doesn’t usually attract talent like famed satirist Andy Borowitz, Met Opera choreographer Camille Brown, or world-class pianists like Jean-Yves Thibaudet. But because the Hopkins Center is part of Dartmouth, these acts travel to Hanover and residents of the Upper Valley can enjoy them. And with an already fragile relationship between the College and the Upper Valley community, we cannot risk the loss of an equalizer like the Hop.
We agree that the Hopkins Center renovations are necessary for the continued health of the arts in Dartmouth. But to avoid dismantling student interest and the legacy of our arts programs, it is essential that the College continue to support the programs that spark that interest in the first place, no matter the cost.
The editorial board is made up of opinion columnists, opinion writers, editors and the editor-in-chief.