The Moody Foundation has awarded $20 million to Rice University for a new Center for the Arts. The 50,000-square-foot building, currently in the predesign phase, would provide lecture and studio classrooms for arts making; a theater venue for experimental and smaller-scale productions; and galleries both for exhibition of faculty and students work and curated exhibits by Rice and jointly with the museums of Houston.
President David Leebron said, “Importantly, this building will enable Rice to enrich its relationships with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), the Menil Collection and the city’s other exceptional art institutions, and be a great resource for the city as well as the campus.”
“The Moody Center will foster creativity in arts much like Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen enables creativity in engineering,” said Caroline Levander, vice provost for interdisciplinary initiatives, who will oversee the center along with a faculty director funded with an endowed position. Levander said the new building would “complement our existing facilities devoted to the arts,” leaving it in doubt whether the new building would replace the Rice Gallery in Sewall Hall, and be built on the site of the 40-year-old Rice Media Center.
The new building has been in the works for a while; as Glasstire reported in January, 2012, Architect Michael Maltzan of Los Angeles is under contract for a pre-design of the new facility, and hopes are that the new building help leverage support for the launch of a Rice University MFA program.
The Moody Foundation was established in 1942 by William L. Moody Jr. and his wife, Libbie Rice Shearn Moody, to benefit present and future Texans. Moody Gardens in Galveston, Moody Coliseum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the Moody Theater in Austin are among the beneficiaries of the foundation’s generosity.