Aug 23, 2007    #136
Contact: Wandra Brooks Green

UMKC's Conservatory receives $2.5 million for expansion projectMajor gift from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation to advance training opportunities

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation has committed $2.5 million in support to the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music and Dance’s new building project. The major gift will help address critical space issues at the Conservatory, complement other cultural projects currently underway in the community and bring the Your UMKC capital campaign total closer to its goal of $200 million.

The Conservatory presently is housed within three buildings: the Performing Arts Center (PAC), built in 1979; Grant Hall, which originally was a grade school before it was retrofitted in 1989; and the 51st Street Annex, which has served a variety of functions over the years. In addition, the Conservatory shares these facilities with other tenants, including the UMKC department of theatre and the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. When it opened, the PAC was designed to serve a Conservatory student population of 450. Today, it is called on to support more than 620. An expansion will enable the Conservatory to ease crowded conditions, accommodate an optimal increase in enrollment to 750 and facilitate growth of the Community Music and Dance Academy, the school’s outreach arm.

"This is a signature project for the University,” said UMKC Chancellor Guy H. Bailey. “In order for the Conservatory to gain recognition as one of the 10 best music programs in the country, we must create an environment that nurtures the educational and creative process for students, faculty and the community. The Foundation’s investment in the Conservatory enables us to meet both immediate and long-term needs.”

Highlights of the project include a new performing hall to support opera, music theater and dance; an increase in the number of student practice rooms from 30 to 100; rehearsal rooms specifically designed for small ensembles; an additional dance studio; and a Music and Dance Academy wing. Total costs for the project are estimated at $40 million, of which $20 million will be funded through private gifts. When the first $20 million is secured, Bailey has pledged to match it with an additional $20 million.

The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance has earned national and international recognition through its music and dance performances, composition, teaching and scholarship. The most comprehensive music and dance educational center in the Midwest since 1906, the Conservatory features more than 80 faculty widely recognized as leaders in their fields. The school attracts many of the finest students in the world, who pursue degrees within its divisions of Academic Studies and Composition; Dance; Instrumental Studies; Keyboard Studies; Music Education/Music Therapy; and Vocal Studies.

UMKC, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban engagement.



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