Davis & Elkins College will dedicate Myles Center for the Arts, Myles Plaza and the “Discovery & Esprit” sculpture by artist James Grashow in grand style Thursday, April 7. In addition to the ceremony, “A Celebration of the Arts” will pay tribute to Trustee Chair Emerita June Myles.
Opened in January 2021, the $6.7 million project fulfills Myles’ vision of creating an inviting cultural center favorable for hosting a multitude of campus and community events.
“We have been waiting through many months of a pandemic to throw open the doors of the new Myles Center to the Elkins-Randolph County community and Thursday is the day,” said Davis & Elkins College President Chris A. Wood. “Thanks to the vision, passion, and generosity of June Myles, D&E has a spectacular new facility to showcase the arts and bring our community together. All are invited to join us for this dedication and celebration.”
The Augusta Heritage Center Band and D&E Highland Dancers will entertain guests as they arrive. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the official dedication ceremony will follow with remarks by Davis & Elkins College alumnus and Board of Trustees Chair Mark Barber ’75, student Anna Ruf ’23, alumnus and Elkins Mayor Jerry Marco ’90, Managing Principal of the Mills Group Michael Mills, Wood, Myles, Grashow and Chair of the D&E Division of Humanities Dr. Bill King.
Immediately after the dedication ceremony, “A Celebration of the Arts” will take place throughout Myles Center for the Arts until 1 p.m. Presentations will include a preview of “Failure: A Love Story” by Phillip Dawkins and performed by D&E students; The Old Brick Playhouse Artist-in-Resident and D&E alumnus Jacob Currence ’17; performances by D&E dance students; D&E students’ visual art displays, digital media and printmaking demonstrations; and music by D&E students, Elkins vocalist Gracey Metheny and the cast of The Old Brick Playhouse’s “Mama Mia.” In addition, an exhibit in the Harper-McNeeley auditorium lobby will detail the process in creating “Discovery & Esprit.” Proclamations and letters of recognition for Myles commitment to the College and community also will be on display.
The extensive renovations to Myles Center for the Arts feature a glass enclosed Senate Commons equipped with a state-of-the-art audio-visual system that includes five large screens, a media wall and a drop-down projector screen for presentations. A new elevator and balcony bridge make the entire building handicapped accessible at all levels. The stone and brick rotunda, which mirrors the structure at Madden Student Center, serves as the main entrance to the building.
Myles Plaza saw upgrades as well. “Discovery & Esprit,” the 10-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a young couple dancing commissioned by Myles, highlights the area that also includes West Virginia made Blenko Glass pavers, sections for conversations and tiered seating that can be used as an outdoor classroom. The stone Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring D&E alumni who gave their lives while serving their country, is flanked by West Virginia and American flags.
Myles Center for the Arts houses Harper-McNeeley Auditorium, the Paull Gallery, The Joni and Buck Smith Arts Forum, art studios for the D&E Division of Creative Arts, the George A. Myles Pool, the Robbins-Madden Fitness Center and various office spaces.