Enterprise State Community College held an open house for its newly renovated fine arts building, Forrester Hall, on Dec. 2.

The “Celebration of the Arts at Forrester Hall” began with a program in the new ESCC Foundation Black Box Theater, which was made possible by a $350,000 donation for the theater by the Foundation.

Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker spoke at the event.

“I don’t know how to express to you how important all of this is,” Baker said.

He also touched on the college’s other plans for the campus and its new building.

“We’re just beginning,” Baker said. “We’re going make this a show place and a place where people understand and appreciate the value of art, music, academics and the entire gamut of academia.”

Chair of the Fine Arts Division Dr. Ken Thomas took the stage to talk a little about the programs offered at ESCC in the Fine Arts Division.

“ESCC is known for its excellence in its arts programs,” Thomas said. “This tradition of excellence continues with our students, faculty and, now, facilities. In recent years, two of our art students were President’s Cup recipients; several students received significant scholarships to four year institutions; one student had a part written for him in an opera; one student is currently enrolled at SCAD, The Savannah College of Art and Design; (and) one student is a recent graduate from the School of Visual Arts in New York.”

Thomas asked that the teachers in the division stand up and be recognized.

“It takes a team to do what we do,” Thomas said. “I tell people all the time, ‘We are small but we don’t know it.’ We do crazy things. I couldn’t do it without them.”

Thomas thanked and recognized Stan and Carol Windham for their donation of a Yahama concert grand piano, which is priced at $83,000.

Following the recognition, the new piano was used for performances by ESCC students Meghan Johnson, Johnathan Doyle and Mattie Hines.

A reception was held after the program followed immediately by a student art exhibit in the lobby of the building. Thomas said that the lobby will serve as a gallery to show off students’ works.

During the exhibition, music was provided by the ESCC Entertainers.

The Fine Arts Division’s Christmas concert took place at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room in the LBW Student Center to end the night celebrating the new building and the arts programs.

The renovations to the building, which was erected in 1977, started in the Spring at the end of the semester. The new renovations have split the building into three parts: music, theater and art so that each discipline can have its own distinct classrooms, equipment and space to fit its needs.

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