The College of Saint Rose will open its new $14 million Massry Center for the Arts on Friday, Sept. 26, with a weekend devoted to concerts and tours of the facility at 1002 Madison Ave.
“It’s always been a long standing dream to have our own state of the art venue,” said Saint Rose President R. Mark Sullivan.
Until three years ago, however, a new center would have remained just a dream. The Massry family’s $2 million gift in December 2005 changed all that. It was the largest single gift ever given to the college, Sullivan said. Morris Massry built a fortune in the retail clothing business before moving into real estate investment management in the Capital District. He and his son Norman, who serves on the college’s board of trustees, have run Massry Realty Partners for more than 40 years. In 2004, Morris received an honorary degree from the college and, coincidentally, his granddaughter received her MBA, also from the college.
“He wanted to do something for the college,” Sullivan said.
The 46,000-square-foot facility includes classrooms, practice rooms, rehearsal rooms, the Picotte Recital Hall and an art gallery. Trustees wanted the building to blend in with the other buildings on campus, so brick and classic Victorian lines are ample. They wanted high exposure to natural light so there’s much glass and connecting walkways and plazas to the rest of the campus.
Sullivan said he was especially pleased with the very spacious art gallery, the recital hall’s excellent acoustics and that the third floor’s rehearsal rooms have the same acoustics. To inaugurate the art gallery, the college asked acclaimed artist Judy Pfaff to install samples of her art, which will run until Nov. 9.
The Albany Symphony Orchestra under conductor David Alan Miller will inaugurate the Picotte Recital Hall at a private college gala. Miller said he had visited the hall and thought it intimate and sumptuous and that his sound engineer had declared the acoustics amazing.
Concert tickets will be inexpensive, Sullivan said, because he wants to draw local crowds. Initial concerts will feature student groups from area colleges and some professional groups. Perhaps in the future, Sullivan said, he might persuade one of the international stars who performs, say at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, to venture onto the campus to give a concert.