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DPAC receives top rating

| Monday, February 2, 2015

The Debartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) was named one of the "25 Most Amazing Campus Arts Centers" by College Degree Search.Photo courtesy of University of Notre Dame

The Debartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) was named one of the “25 Most Amazing Campus Arts Centers” by College Degree Search.

College Degree Search selected the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) as one of the “25 Most Amazing Campus Arts Centers” in a recent post on their website, writing that it “truly embodies the attributes of the University of Notre Dame” as a “world class institution that embraces a broad liberal arts spectrum.”

Ted Barron, senior associate director for DPAC, said the center allows students to engage in a wide variety of artistic and performing experiences.

“In terms of being able to experience the full range of the performing arts — cinema, dance, live theater, music, opera — students are getting an opportunity [at DPAC] to have access to major artists and really unique experiences,” Barron said. “One of the things that [DPAC] strives to provide is a way for people to get enrichment in their lives that they don’t typically have access to on campus.”

Peter Holland, associate dean of the arts for Notre Dame, said the opening of DPAC completely changed the way the University taught the arts.

“To be able to have a class on film in which every clip is up on a cinema screen with cinema projection … is absolutely extraordinary,” Holland said.

The College Degree Search also described DPAC as a “majestic center,” with which Barron agreed.

“I have been on many college campuses, and I have rarely seen a facility that is so well designed and so well cared for. That reflects the University’s genuine commitment to the arts as a priority on the campus,” Barron said.

Holland said Notre Dame is “very, very lucky” to have an arts center that is so “brilliantly designed.”

“It is the extent to which every detail of the building was thought through, not just as a performance space but also as a learning space,” Holland said, describing DPAC as a “massive teaching machine.”

But, Barron said, DPAC does not just provide arts education for the film, television and theatre (FTT) majors or the music majors, but to the whole Notre Dame campus.

“When [DPAC] shows a film and we have an opportunity to have a discussion after the film, I see people of all ages — student, faculty, retirees — are talking and engaging with the ideas that the film has presented.”

“Those are the most exciting times and [we feel] like we are really making a difference in people’s lives,” Barron said.

This impact extends to the South Bend community as well, Holland said.

“This is a space that draws us closer to our community,” Holland said. “… [DPAC] was designed so it would be at the boundary of campus, so that when you come on to campus, what are you greeted by? The performing arts center.

“That is the building that stands between campus and the community. It is quite a symbolic building in that way.”

According to the College Degree Search website, DPAC is “dedicated to the proposition that the human spirit needs to be nurtured on all levels.”

Holland said the arts contribute to that nurturing.

“The arts shows us what is appalling and troubling and disturbing and subversive. It shows us what is terrible about human existence as well as what we can aspire to,” Holland said. “All of that is part of the human spirit … the arts opens doors. And DPAC is the space where we can do that as a community.”

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  • Who or what is “College Degree Search”? Who runs the website? Who sponsors it? What metrics do they use in their rankings? Are rankings “sponsored” in any way? If so, by whom?

    How about something in future stories, “Observer” editors and writers, about the groups/organizations/entities/individuals that sponsor things like this? And not just info from the entity’s own website – factual info? There are all kinds of groups doing all kinds of rankings. Verify, verify, verify.

    Think of it this way: What if a ranking came out from a group called “Freedom America”, and that group named Notre Dame the “5th best university in the United States”? On the surface, sounds cool, great!

    However…doing just some quick checking, we find out that “Freedom America” is a group that advocates for “more efficient government”. Okay, nothing too sinister there. Yet…what Freedom America actually espouses is the abolishment of several federal agencies – education being one, no more Pell Grants or low-interest loans – a return to the gold standard, a return to state legislatures appointing U.S. Senators, and a host of other “government reforms”. How would, then, that top 5 ranking for Notre Dame from “Freedom America” look now – worthy of a story? something to cheer about?

    All rankings are to equal.