The Arts, Creativity, and Innovation Initiative

Third-Century Vision

Preliminary rendering of the Benton Center
A preliminary rendering of the Benton Center

The Middle Campus Initiative for Arts, Creativity, and Innovation is a substantial rethinking of the University’s overall educational experience and the campus itself. With a thoughtful redesign of new and existing spaces, the Middle Campus neighborhood will become the gateway to the liberal arts at Colgate. It brings together a host of departments, programs, and activities that all touch on creative processes and student expression.

The Middle Campus Initiative is a major priority of Colgate’s Third-Century Plan, which promotes collaboration across the University and pushes pedagogical and research frontiers through new curricular and co-curricular initiatives. By bringing seemingly disparate fields of study into shared physical spaces, the “power of proximity” will help create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing, which will benefit all aspects of the Colgate experience.

Spaces for Creation and Innovation

Through new building projects and facility renovations, the Middle Campus neighborhood will be transformed into a hub for creativity. The redesigned Middle Campus will dismantle barriers between the arts, sciences, and technology while simultaneously addressing Colgate’s long-standing need for arts facilities.

The Benton Center for the Arts, Creativity, and Technology

A hub for interdepartmental collaboration and experimentation and the anchor of a two-building, 36,800-square-foot complex on Colgate’s Middle Campus to house computer science, film and media studies, theater, and dance with flexible performance and teaching spaces, computer and media labs, studios, offices, and gathering spaces for faculty and students. 

The back of a student working on a computer
  • Experimental exhibition and performance space
  • Fabrication lab / maker space
  • Media archeology lab
  • Digital music lab / studio
  • Computer labs
  • Faculty research and student studio spaces
  • Project rooms
  • Flexible classroom space

The Dana Center for Curricular and Co-Curricular Innovation and Design

An architecturally significant building, Dana was designed by famed architect Paul Rudolph and will be restored to its original design vision. The renovated Dana Center will become home to design-related courses, Thought Into Action, student maker and practice spaces, the offices of the Division of University Studies, and a renovated Brehmer Theater. 

Production shot of Antigone performance
  • Studios for architecture, scene, and costume design
  • Student entrepreneurship spaces, maker spaces, and practice spaces
  • Combined social space and laboratory for student-driven projects
  • Thought Into Action innovation hub
  • Flexible collaboration space
  • Individual rooms featuring similar flexible furniture and technology for meetings and classes
  • Adjacent maker-spaces that allow for fast prototyping, design, and experimentation

Colgate University Collections

Image of objects in a collection study room

This new facility will be a dynamic building for object-based teaching and learning (bringing students into direct contact with objects from the Picker and Longyear collections, Special Collections, and University Archives), laboratories, exhibition spaces, open storage workrooms, teaching spaces, and a lecture hall. With the creation of a storage for art, objects, and artifacts, students and faculty will be able to access the University’s incredible collections more easily.

An Interdisciplinary Hub

Map of campus illustrating the location of Middle Campus neighborhood

A central component of the plan involves relocating to the region the Department of Computer Science and Film and Media Studies, two dynamic programs with strong student interest that will only grow. This will encourage a robust dialogue between technology and the arts, enabling students to immerse themselves in the history and traditional practice of the arts while developing fluency in the technological advances that impact the arts of tomorrow.

In addition, the Longyear Ethnographic and Archaeological Collections and the Picker Fine Art Collection will come to share University Museums facilities adjacent with Special Collections and University Archives, and accessible to the sociology and anthropology and cultural studies programs.

Meanwhile, the movement of student-directed creative enterprises like Thought Into Action, student theater, and a cappella groups to Middle Campus will reenergize these programs by placing them in the literal center of campus life.