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March 28, 2024

USM, Consigli top off Crewe Center for the Arts

Courtesy / University of Southern Maine Gathered beside the Crewe Center’s last structural beam, from left: USM Dean Adam Tuchinsky, Tom Chappell, Kate Cheney Chappell, Dan Crewe and Peter Plumb.

The University of Southern Maine, which will open the Crewe Center for the Arts next year, held a "topping off" ceremony for the building with Consigli Construction workers placing the final structural beam into place.

In addition to Consigli Construction Co., the design-build team includes Pfeiffer Partners Architects and Oak Point Associates.

“Today’s topping off of the new Crewe Center for the Arts is a milestone that represents an important moment for both our project team and the University of Southern Maine community,” said Chris Brown, project executive at Consigli Construction Co.  

Rendering / Courtesy University of Southern Maine
The southern exterior side of the future Crewe Center for the Arts.

The project was represented by Corey Hascall, vice president of the USM Foundation, and Adam Tuchinsky, dean of the USM College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Founding donors present at the topping off included Daniel Crewe, the center’s namesake and chair of the Crewe Center for the Arts campaign; Kate Cheney Chappell and her husband Tom Chappell, co-chairs of the Crewe Center leadership committee; and Peter and Pam Plumb, longtime members of the Crewe Center for the Arts leadership committee and the music advisory board. 

“The Crewe Center will transform the teaching and learning experience for 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. We are deeply grateful to our trailblazing donors who are helping us realize this vision," Tuchinsky said at the March 13 topping off ceremony.

A Portland arts presence

At 40,000 square feet, the Crewe Center will have state-of-the-art facilities for music teaching, learning and performance. USM expects the center to establish a Portland presence for USM’s theater, dance and visual arts programs.

A 200-seat performance hall will be able to host smaller ensembles, opera and dance performances. The center will include an arts lab for recitals and a "great hall" gallery, as well as a visual arts studio that will host the Kate Cheney Chappell ’83 Center for Book Arts. Chappell and her husband Tom Chappell founded the toothpaste and cosmetics brand Tom's of Maine. Finally, outdoor spaces are planned for concerts, a sculpture garden and a visual arts terrace.

An opening timeframe is set for fall 2025.

Courtesy / University of Southern Maine
The Crewe Center’s final structural beam makes its ascent, adorned with a small tree and American flag.

How it came together

The Crewe Center for the Arts will become the home of USM’s Dr. Alfred and D. Suzi Osher School of Music. A $10 million gift from Suzi Osher jump-started the project. It was the largest monetary gift in USM Foundation history.

Another $6 million came from the Crewe Foundation, established by Dan Crewe to honor his late brother, the legendary singer, songwriter and producer, Bob Crewe (1930-2014), who wrote or co-wrote such hits as "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Rag Doll," "My Eyes Adored You" and "Can't Take My Eyes off of You," among many others. The university has named the new arts center in honor of the Crewe brothers.

The overall cost of the Crewe Center will be $63 million.

Other funding included $9 million from ongoing capital funding provided to the University of Maine System by Gov. Janet Mills and the Maine Legislature. The USM Foundation has raised another $20 million in philanthropic donations.

Fundraising is underway to raise $3.2 million to complete the next phase of the project.

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