Norton Center for the Arts
Date Built: 1973, renovated in 1994 and 2010
Named For: Jane Morton Norton
Architect: William Wesley Peters, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Current Use: Newlin Hall, Weisiger Theatre, and Grant Hall (classrooms, studios, and faculty offices for the departments of dramatic arts and music)
In 1971 Centre announced plans to construct a fine arts center where the Danville High School had formerly stood. Centre had obtained the property from the Danville City School Board in 1960. The Regional Arts Center, as it was initially known, opened on September 22, 1973, with a performance of Verdi's Otello by the Kentucky Opera Association. In 1982 the Center was renamed the Norton Center for the Arts in honor of Jane Morton Norton, former Centre trustee and patron of the arts. The 85,000 square-foot complex was designed by architect William Wesley Peters, a chief architect at Taliesin Associated Architects of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Within the Norton Center are two theaters, Newlin Hall, a 1,500-seat concert hall, and Weisiger Theatre, a 360-seat theater in the round. Grant Hall is home to classrooms, studios, and faculty offices for the departments of dramatic arts and music, and includes recital halls, playing rooms, acting studios, and a black box theatre for student productions. The Grand Foyer serves as an exhibition space for the college.
Outside the Norton Center is Ex Astris, a 14-foot, brass-plated sculpture by Louisville artist Tom Lear, and The Haven Gillespie Fountain and Plaza, a gift made possible by Audrey R. Gillespie in memory of James Haven Gillespie (1888-1975) and his son Haven Lamont Gillespie (1910-1990).
There have been three managing directors of the Norton Center: Floyd Herzog (1973-1982), George Forman (1983-2009), and Steven A. Hoffman (2010-present)