Connors Family Fine Arts Center Unveiled

University Communications & Marketing | 04/19/2024
Exterior of Connor Family Fine Arts Center at ذكذكتسئµ Francis University

Official Opening

The ذكذكتسئµ Francis University community gathered on April 18, 2024, to celebrate a milestone accomplishment.

The Connors Family Fine Arts Center on 181 St. Catherine Street, Loretto, Pa., officially opened with a blessing and dedication ceremony on April 18, 2024. This new 15,000-square-foot space facility is home to the Resinski Black Box Theatre and the University's visual arts, music, and marching band programs.

In addition to the flexible, technologically enhanced Black Box performance space, it boasts a Green Room, Costume Shop, and dressing rooms for any theatre offering or visiting performers.

For the visual arts, it holds a traditional/digital visual arts studio space and a public display gallery space. The music programs will benefit from a large practice room for SFU Bands, Music Facilitation, Group Guitar, and other course offerings. There are also two practice rooms for applied lessons (individual lessons), such as voice, piano, and guitar lessons.

This $7.5 million endeavor, including a significant contribution from John '64 and Sheila (Widmer) Connors '65, was made possible by the collective support of ذكذكتسئµ Francis University alumni and friends. A record-breaking 525 individual donors, the largest number in University history, stepped forward, with 12 generously giving $100,000 or more.

A history of the project: In March 2018, an enthusiastic group of theatre alumni began a grassroots effort to raise funds for the Resinski Black Box Theatre. Hoping to honor long-time director and theatre professor Kenny Resinski, who passed away in 2013, and his wife, Bonnie, who continues to be active in the arts at the University, the initial plan was to convert an existing physical plant grounds garage near the old boiler house into a black box theatre, bearing the Resinski name.

In 2019, fundraising intensified as the Connors provided a substantial lead gift. It was then that the University, with the support of the theatre alumni group, decided to construct a brand-new arts center to be named in honor of the Connors family. Thus, the Connors Family Fine Arts Center would become home to the Resinski Black Box Theatre and the University's visual arts, music, and marching band programs. After several more years of fundraising, the ceremonial groundbreaking took place on October 1, 2021.

The project has also been bolstered by substantial external support. The George I. Alden Trust and the AJ and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust, in particular, have played a pivotal role, ذكذكتسئµ a new iMac laboratory, visual arts studio, and digital/traditional art gallery within the CFFAC, contributing a total of $130,000 to the project.

The Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund (administered by the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies) provided a $15,265 grant to purchase and install the solar panel array  in front of the building.

In addition, Loretto Borough and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation partnered with the University to reconstruct St. Catherine Street in anticipation of the project. The total project cost was $828,048.

ذكذكتسئµ the Fine Arts at SFU

ذكذكتسئµ Francis University offers minors in Fine Arts, Music and Wellness, Theatre (new!), and Visual Arts. Students can also join ensembles and earn college credits through the CFA, including the Marching/Pep Band, Theatre Productions, Chorus, and the World Drumming Ensemble. For those looking to hone their skills, instrument lessons are available in guitar, voice, piano, and hand drumming.

View the ceremony