Fresno State president announces new focus and venue for arts and humanities program

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The hope is for a venue that would seat approximately 1,200 people and the building would have adjacent classrooms as well to connect the community with the arts at Fresno State. (KFSN)

A major announcement was made Tuesday at Fresno State. University president Joseph Castro announced he's forming a new commission at the university to focus on the expansion of arts and humanities.

The new commission will also come up with plans for a brand new performing arts center on campus. The hope is for a venue that would seat approximately 1,200 people. The building will have adjacent classrooms for students and will connect the community with the arts at Fresno State.

Castro had the big announcement during his State of the University address Tuesday morning at the Save Mart Center. Castro is in the process of forming a new president's commission.

"I specifically want the commission to consider the establishment of a new performing arts center with adjoining state-of-the-art classrooms," he told the faculty.

The new venue would face Shaw Avenue and seat more than 1,000 people. Castro says the commission and proposal for a new performing arts venue is not only part of his mission to improve the community's connection to the arts at Fresno State but also upgrading the facade of the university on Shaw Avenue between Maple and Cedar.

"It's starting to become time to re-imagine what our campus will look like in the decades ahead," Castro said.

Saul Jimenez-Sandoval is the dean of the arts and humanities at Fresno State and will sit on the new commission. He says the department has been waiting for this moment for a long time.

"We'll explore ways to further arts and humanities in the Valley," he said. "The arts and humanities are these vehicles for which people get engaged."

The proposed new venue would not just feature musical performances, art exhibits from Fresno State faculty and staff but also hope to attract acts from around the world.

"We have incredible painters sculptors," Jimenez-Sandoval said. "We have amazing musicians here. We want to share this richness to our community and with this new venue. We'll be able to say come share with us who we are in the valley."

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