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October 12, 2023

USM breaks ground on $63M Crewe Center for the Arts

Rendering Rendering / Courtesy, University of Southern Maine The Crewe Center for the Arts, at USM's Portland campus, is due to be completed in 2025.
Rendering Rendering / Courtesy University of Southern Maine A rendering of the Performance Hall.
Rendering Rendering / Courtesy University of Southern Maine The southern exterior side of the future Crewe Center for the Arts.
Rendering Rendering / Courtesy University of Southern Maine The Great Hall Gallery in the future arts center.

Assisted by famous actor-alumnus Tony Shalhoub, the University of Southern Maine on Thursday broke ground on a $63 million performing and visual arts center in Portland slated for completion in 2025. 

The 40,000-square-foot arts center will include state-of-the-art facilities for music teaching, learning and performance, and establish a Portland presence for theater, dance and visual arts programming.

Features will include a 200-seat performance hall and outdoor spaces are planned for concerts, a sculpture garden and visual arts terrace.

Actor Tony Shalhoub

“Being able to work so closely with dedicated professors and mentors in USM’s Theatre Department allowed me to discover my own potential and passion for acting –– and helped me go further than I ever imagined,” said Shalhoub, a 1977 USM graduate who made a financial contribution to the project. “Building a new Center for the Arts on USM’s Portland campus will help ensure that today’s talented students will discover their own greatness, too.” 
The future Crewe Center for the Arts recognizes the generosity and commitment of Daniel Crewe, a longtime champion of the arts who served as business manager for his brother Bob Crewe, an award-winning songwriter and record producer of “Four Seasons” fame. 

Daniel Crewe, who received an honorary degree from USM in 2022, led USM’s recently completed Great University Campaign, which raised a record $50 million. 

Located at the corner of Deering Avenue and Bedford Street, the Crewe Center for the Arts is part of a wider campus revamp, which also includes the newly opened McGoldrick Center for Career & Student Success, Bean Green campus quad and Portland Commons residence hall.

Design-build team

The design-build team for the arts center includes a mix of national and local firms with a background in campus work: Pfeiffer Partners Architects, a Los Angeles firm that has designed arts buildings on campuses at the University of Colorado, Colorado College and Gonzaga; Oak Point Associates, a Biddeford architecture and planning firm that worked on the Foster Center for Innovation at the University of Maine; and Consigli Construction, which has a Portland office and is managing construction of the future Roux Institute campus and has done extensive work at Bowdoin, Colby colleges, as well as the new home of the University of Maine School of Law in Portland.

‘Beyond bricks and mortar’

“Beyond bricks and mortar, the Crewe Center will better serve our talented faculty and students, open the doors to wider community collaboration in music, theater and the visual arts, and greatly benefit Maine’s unique creative economy,” said USM President Jacqueline Edmondson.
The Crewe Center for the Arts will become the new home of USM’s highly acclaimed Dr. Alfred and D. Suzi Osher School of Music. 

A $10 million gift from D. Suzi Osher paved the way for construction of the new facility––the largest monetary gift in USM Foundation history. The Crewe Foundation, established by Dan Crewe to honor his late brother, donated more than $6 million. In response to a Crewe Foundation matching challenge, Shaloub donated $150,000 to the project.
The $63 million project s being funded through a combination of private philanthropy and public investment, including $9 million in University of Maine System revenue bonds approved by state lawmakers.
Ainsley Wallace, president and CEO of the USM Foundation said the group is confident of being able to raise the additional $5 million needed to complete what he called a transformational project for the school.
When completed in 2025, the Crewe Center for the Arts is expected to boost enrollment at USM’s Osher School of Music, attracting students from Maine and throughout the region

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