Date October 4, 2023
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Brown to kick off yearlong celebration of the arts with Oct. 21 public opening of The Lindemann

Student, faculty and community artists, violinist Itzhak Perlman and countless other creators will take part in a day of performances, discussion and tours to celebrate the opening of the unique performing arts center in Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To kick off a yearlong celebration of the arts and commemorate the official opening of its new, one-of-a-kind Lindemann Performing Arts Center, Brown University will host a full day of public festivities on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Events at the opening celebration will range from a block party to building visits, and the day will culminate with the center’s inaugural public concert featuring renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, who will perform with the Brown University Orchestra and Brown University Chorus. Other events will include pop-up performances, engaging arts forums, food trucks and tours of The Lindemann, a radically flexible new center for performance and artistic experimentation designed by REX architecture and located in Brown’s Perelman Arts District.

Tickets for the concert and reservations for building tours and Brown arts forums will be available at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 11, on the Brown website at

Avery Willis Hoffman, artistic director of the Brown Arts Institute, said The Lindemann’s opening festivities will welcome visitors from across and beyond College Hill and the Providence area, underscoring the center’s role as both a hub for arts research and artistic expression, and a home for creative partnership with faculty, students and surrounding communities.

“After years of planning, design and construction to create an exceptional new performing arts center, we’re excited to welcome community members to this beautiful and dynamic building, the launch of our IGNITE series and 14 months of inaugural arts programming,” Hoffman said. “This moment marks the beginning of an amplification of the arts across campus and beyond, with this transformative new space promising to inspire new realms of possibility for arts scholarship, performance and artistic innovation.”

"After years of planning, design and construction to create an exceptional new performing arts center, we’re excited to welcome community members to this beautiful and dynamic building, the launch of our IGNITE series and 14 months of inaugural arts programming."

Avery Willis Hoffman Artistic Director of the Brown Arts Institute
Avery Willis Hoffman

Festivities on Saturday, Oct. 21, will begin at noon, when attendees are invited to celebrate the research, teaching and art-making that happens at Brown with family-friendly activities and a formal ribbon-cutting for The Lindemann with University President Christina H. Paxson and Chancellor Sam Mencoff.

With the block party continuing until 3 p.m., representatives from the Brown Arts Institute will offer guided tours of The Lindemann, public art on campus and two galleries featuring installations from Carrie Mae Weems’ “Varying Shades of Brown” — a campus-wide activation by the New York-based artist, imagined in her role as Brown’s inaugural Agnes Gund Professor of the Practice of Arts and Social Justice.

Throughout the afternoon, the building’s exterior gathering spots will provide space for community members to congregate in celebration and conversation. The food trucks will line the adjacent Olive Street, and pop-up performances will provide regular entertainment throughout the afternoon.

During the building tours, members of the public will have the opportunity to tour the 101,000-square-foot performing arts center’s main performance hall and studios, with BAI staff providing information on the spaces’ design and functionality. Among the highlights will be the Nelson Atwater Lobby and its “Infinite Composition,” a site-specific, three-dimensional light work designed by award-winning artist Leo Villareal; the radically flexible main hall, which can transform into five dramatically different configurations for a variety of performances and presentations; and the building’s distinctive “clearstory,” which slices through the building’s façade at stage level revealing the interior of the main floor to passersby in every direction.

At 3 p.m., Professor of the Practice of the Arts Kate Burton, award-winning actor of stage and screen, will lead a Brown Arts Forum titled “Brown Arts History” in Martinos Auditorium at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The forum will offer insights into the history of the arts at Brown, in a conversation with professor emeritus and director of Creative Arts Council Richard Fishman (visual art), professor and former faculty director of the Brown Arts Initiative Butch Rovan (music), and professor emerita and founding director of dance Julie Strandberg (theatre arts and performance studies).

The day’s events will close with the inaugural public performance inside The Lindemann’s main hall at 7:30 p.m. Violinist Itzhak Perlman — winner of multiple Grammy and Emmy awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom — will join the Brown University Orchestra and the Brown University Chorus in a performance; he appears courtesy of Primo Artists. The student ensembles will also premiere a newly commissioned piece composed by Associate Professor of Music Eric Nathan and set to poetry written by Assistant Professor of Literary Arts Sawako Nakayasu.

Hoffman noted that the opening celebration will also launch IGNITE, a series of cross-disciplinary projects curated by BAI in collaboration with the Brown Arts Program Committee, which includes Brown students, faculty, staff and members of the Providence arts community. Launching in Fall 2023 and running through Fall 2024, IGNITE aims to demonstrate how art can be a powerful vehicle for change. Anchored by six large-scale, collaborative residencies with highly respected international artists who work across artistic mediums, the series will share unique insights into pressing issues such as systemic racism, economic inequality and climate change.

Among the IGNITE artists is creator and activist Weems; draftsman, performer and filmmaker William Kentridge; and renowned spoken-word artist Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz. IGNITE will also feature work proposed and produced by arts departments at Brown; open-call projects by students, faculty, alumni and Providence-based artists; and BAI collaborations with other University entities, including the School of Public Health, Data Science Institute and Carney Institute for Brain Science.

While the public celebration in October will include multiple ways for community members to engage and participate, the previously scheduled parade and “Love Riot” led by musician, composer and bandleader Jon Batiste has been postponed. With a yearlong opportunity to celebrate the arts on campus, Brown Arts Institute will share details about future programming in the coming months.