Woodruff Arts Center
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|Location||1280 Peachtree Street
|Public transit access||Arts Center station|
Woodruff Arts Center is a major visual and performing arts center located in Atlanta, Georgia. The center houses four arts divisions in one campus and not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, and Arts for Learning.
In 1962, Atlanta suffered an unprecedented loss when an airplane, the Chateau de Sully, carrying the leaders of Atlanta’s arts and civic community, crashed at Orly Airport in Paris. As the city grieved, it came together and used the devastating loss as a catalyst for the arts and built a fitting memorial to these victims. This led to the creation of the Atlanta Arts Alliance.
The Memorial Arts Center, as the Woodruff was originally known, opened October 5, 1968. The building was designed by Atlanta architect Joe Amisano. It was renamed the Woodruff Arts Center in 1982 to honor its greatest benefactor, Robert W. Woodruff. The art center also included the Atlanta College of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art. All three entities were combined into one corporation. The Alliance Theatre was added in 1970 as the fourth division of the Woodruff and thirty-five years later in 2005, a fifth division was added when Young Audiences joined the center. This addition ensures the Woodruff’s PreK-12 programs now reach more than one million children annually, the largest base of any arts center in the country.
On November 12–13, 2005, the Woodruff introduced its largest expansion since opening in 1968. The new addition features two new exhibit buildings and a new administrative and curatorial building for the High Museum of Art; a residence hall and sculpture studio; a full-service restaurant — Table 1280 at the Woodruff — as well as a public piazza and a new parking structure. This new "village for the arts" was designed by another Pritzker Prize winner, Italian architect Renzo Piano.
The Woodruff campus sits on 12.25 acres (4.96 ha) with a planned expansion to 18.25 acres (7.39 ha). Currently, the campus includes 906,000 square feet (84,200 m2) of exhibition, educational and performance space, plus a 200,000-square-foot (20,000 m2) garage located beneath the village.
The Woodruff Arts Center currently includes the Grammy-award winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; the south’s premiere regional theatre and Tony Winner, the Alliance Theatre and the leading art museum in the southeast, the High Museum of Art.
- Gerald W. Sams, AIA guide to the architecture of Atlanta (University of Georgia Press, 1993), ISBN 978-0820314501, pp. 48, 61, 127, 166. Excerpts available at Google Books.
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