New Ferman Center for the Arts opens at University of Tampa

The University of Tampa’s new Ferman Center for the Arts, which opened for the spring semester, provides natural-lit, well-designed spaces for visual arts, dance, and music.

Students from the College of Arts and Letters, which includes music students, are already taking advantage of the many professional sound and dance studios. The university looks forward to opening it for film screenings, lectures, dance concerts, musical performances, art exhibits, and more, says David Gudelunas, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

“Virtually every student at The University of Tampa will pass through the Ferman Center for the Arts -- whether to catch a film or see a performance, take advantage of the many study areas, utilize the services of the Center for Public Speaking, attend a Philosophy class or practice on their musical instrument of choice,” Gudelunas says. He calls the new facility “a hub of activity on campus and in the community.”

Students will work on special art and musical projects in the center, even using the professional recording studio to record and mix sound. The studio includes an acoustically tuned room design with two isolation rooms.

The Center is named after Celia (Davis) and Jim Ferman, the lead donors for UT’s capital campaign to build the Center. Jim Ferman is president of Ferman Motor Car Co. in Tampa and serves as Chairman of the Board at the Bank of Tampa. Jim also serves on the boards of the University of Tampa, Florida Southern in Lakeland, and Emory University in Atlanta. The Ferman family has a long history of philanthropy in academics and in the arts.

KWJ served as architect for the four-story structure, with EWI serving as the prime contractor, along with numerous subcontractors and consultants, Gudelunas says. He says the university would not comment on the cost of the structure.

“Once we are past COVID, we expect to do many performances, recitals, screenings, lectures, and other events that will be free and open to the public,” the dean says. “The building is very much intended to be a community nexus and a part of the downtown Tampa arts community. The galleries are, of course, also open to the public. Right now, we are limiting access because of COVID as we work to keep the campus community safe.”

For more information, visit the University of Tampa website.
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Read more articles by Yvette C. Hammett.

Yvette C. Hammett, a native Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida, has spent much of her career as a professional journalist covering business, the environment, and local features throughout the Tampa Bay Area. She is an avid camper and outdoors person who has also been involved in local events for foster children and the elderly.