Hampden-Sydney College officially opened a new home for fine arts on campus with the dedication of the Viar-Christ Center for the Arts in Brinkley Hall on Saturday, September 16.

Alumni, donors, faculty, and friends of the arts gathered at the building's west patio for remarks and a performance by the Men's Chorus before opening the building to tours.

Brinkley Hall at Hampden-Sydney CollegeThe lead gift supporting the building renovation came from Joseph Viar, Jr. '63, a steadfast supporter of Hampden-Sydney College for many years. "I am forever grateful for what Hampden-Sydney did for me," said Mr. Viar at the dedication, "and the gifts I have given here are truly a small re-payment for the lifetime of joy that this College has given me."  

He continued: "Many of my friends are surprised that an old football player and computer guy would give a gift to fund the arts. It's not a surprise. I love this College and will do anything she needs. When I discussed this gift with [Vice President for Institutional Advancement] Lee King, I told him that Winston Hall is my favorite building on this campus and that if we could use my gift to enhance my favorite building, I'd be happy. I am happy, and I'm grateful. When we give with a thankful heart that is full of gratitude, those are the best gifts. Enjoy this building, and thank you for letting Bonnie [Christ] and me be a part of it."  

"I am forever grateful for what Hampden-Sydney did for me, and the gifts I have given here are truly a small re-payment for the lifetime of joy that this College has given me."

Joseph Viar, Jr. '63

John G. MacFarlane III '76, another leading donor for the project, spoke to the importance of the arts in education and praised Hampden-Sydney College faculty who had a profound effect on his life, particularly the renovated building's eponym, Professor John L. Brinkley '59.  

Retired Barger Professor of Music James Kidd said, "Here is an easy prediction:  the Viar-Christ Center for the Arts will be a hive of creative activity and accomplishments, a temple to imagination with consequences for students and the entire college community that will have a significant and lasting impact."  

David Dodge Lewis, professor of visual arts, echoed these sentiments: "These facilities will be a remarkably effective recruiting tool and will draw to the school students who would not otherwise have seriously considered Hampden-Sydney. Further, because of the public attraction of concerts, plays, and exhibitions, the College's profile will be raised ever higher as the program settles into its new situation. Speaking for everyone in the department, thank you to those who made this possible."  

The Viar-Christ Center for the Arts in Brinkley Hall contains a music workshop, choral library, and multiple practice rooms on the ground floor. The second and third floors feature two-story windows in both the painting and drawing studios, a visual arts gallery, digital and film photography facilities, and the Thompson Commons, a performance space named in memory of Dr. Graves H. Thompson '39.    

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Ribbon-cutting at Brinkley Hall's Viar-Christ Fine Arts Center

The ribbon-cutting and dedication of the Viar-Christ Center for the Arts in Brinkley Hall