The arts at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus are getting a major upgrade.

Five new state-of-the-art music rooms will be available to students next year, along with a completely renovated and expanded visual arts wing. Construction will begin this summer and the new spaces will be unveiled in the fall.

Modern, Spacious Facilities for Visual Arts

The visual arts space will see a complete overhaul of its existing classrooms and studios located on the first floor of the Lowenstein Center at 60th Street and Columbus Avenue. The improvements will include updated furniture, more open layouts, and new state-of-the-art lighting fixtures. There will also be a brand new seminar room and a large increase in storage space to support more ambitious and varied exhibitions. The space will be anchored by the Lipani Gallery, which features solo and group exhibitions of student work as well as work by professional artists, architects, and designers.

Improvements like these will vastly enhance the opportunities available to all students and allow the gallery to operate at a professional level, according to Stephan Apicella-Hitchcock, associate clinical professor of photography and head of the visual arts program.

“Creativity is one of the major aspects that people of the future need in order to discern opportunities, where others do not see anything,” he said about the benefits of access to the arts. “When you put artists, actors, and musicians all in proximity to one another with an espresso machine, something’s bound to happen.”

The Father Grimes Music Center

The music department will also be joining the updated wing, with a suite of five brand new rooms that will make up the Father Grimes S.J. Music Center—named in honor of Robert Grimes, S.J., the dean emeritus of Fordham College at Lincoln Center.

“It enriches the life of the community so much,” Grimes, a former professor of ethnomusicology, said by phone about the increased footprint of music on campus. The project was funded in part by private donors and alumni, who were eager to honor Grimes’ contributions to music at Fordham.

A rendering of the new Father Grimes Music Center.
A rendering of the new Father Grimes Music Center.

The plan features two private practice rooms, two ensemble rooms for bands and small groups, and one large rehearsal room that will house Fordham’s performance ensembles as well as specialty courses like the Fordham Composers Workshop.

These enhanced facilities will also be outfitted with recording capabilities and technological updates like the Wenger VAE Rehearsal System—a playback process that allows students to change the sound of the room to mimic different environments such as a cathedral, auditorium, or recital hall.

“I’m excited that the school is making an investment in the arts on this campus, and that it is translating directly into something our students can take advantage of,” said Daniel Ott, D.M.A., associate professor of music theory and composition and chair of the art history and music department. “I want the students to feel recognized in that way, and I think this does that.”

For the Whole Community

The project is being spearheaded by Laura Auricchio, Ph.D., dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center.

When Auricchio began planning for this project by sending out a student survey soliciting a wishlist for new music spaces, she expected a few dozen responses at most.

Instead, hundreds of students answered—and the majority were not music majors.

“Students are interested in music and art, whether as a vocation or not,” Auricchio said. “I truly believe that music and art does have an impact on their well-being. Creative expression is really necessary, and contributes to the mental health of our students.”

A rendering of an updated visual arts classroom.
A rendering of an updated visual arts classroom.