UA breaks ground on performing arts center

Smith Family Center will consolidate theater, opera, dance performances

A rendering of the Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts at night.

A new performing arts center, thanks to a $20 million gift from the family of Adtran co-founder Mark Smith, has broken ground in Tuscaloosa.

“The Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts will help set a new standard of excellence for both students and faculty,” UA President Stuart R. Bell said. “We’re incredibly thankful to the Smith family and everyone’s support in making our campus an epicenter for performing arts.”

The gift in memory of Mark Smith was made by Smith’s son, Clay, Clay’s wife, Cameron, and Clay’s mother, Linda.

“A lot of philanthropic lessons were taught through my father, who cared deeply about medicine, education and the arts,” Clay said. “But for all our experiences as a family, the magnet has always been the arts. We’re honored to help provide those same joys and opportunities to the University and its future artists and performers.”

The center, pending final approval from the University of Alabama System board of trustees, will centralize performance spaces for dance, theater and opera. Spaces will include a 275-seat black-box theater, a 350-seat proscenium-style theater and a 450-seat venue designed for dance.

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