The New Village Arts Center (NVA) recently celebrated the start of major renovations and the renaming of the new Dea Hurston New Village Arts Center with a groundbreaking ceremony.
The renovations will refresh the space and its offerings with highlights including an extensive educational program, a one-of-a-kind live performance center, a vibrant exterior and an expanded lobby, which is expected to garner growth in visitor attendance.
The renaming of the center for playwright and community leader Dea Hurston marks the first fine arts center named after a black woman in 50 years.
For more than three decades, Hurston has been a powerful force in the San Diego theater community as an underwriter, arts commissioner, community engagement leader, and outspoken voice for creating opportunities for women and actors, directors, designers, and playwrights of color.
Expressing her gratitude for this honor, Hurston said, “I have enjoyed exploring my artistry through writing, and the New Village Arts Center has played a significant role in creating a space for me to foster my creativity. I believe that creative artists thrive when they are surrounded by others who share their zeal for art, and I hope that the center will serve as a place for artists to inspire each other by coming together.”
In addition to renaming the building, NVA created the Dea Hurston Scholarship Program, which creates opportunities at the high school, college and professional levels for BIPOC women and other underrepresented artists. Christian Kurner, Founder and Executive Artistic Director of NVA, spoke about the partnership, saying, “As New Village Arts prepared for both our 20th anniversary and the major renovation of our facility, we thought a lot about what it means to have someone’s name on your building
“We thought about which person in San Diego has done the most to support the arts, both as a patron and as an artist—the overwhelming choice was Dea Hurston. Ms. Hurston is not only an important playwright, but she has been a leader in the San Diego arts community for over 30 years,” Kerner said.
“She created countless opportunities for younger BIPOC artists, and all of us at New Village Arts are so proud to have our building named in Dea Hurston’s honor.”
Through the support of the Conrad Prebys Foundation, the Sahm Family Foundation, the Nordson Foundation, the Ginn Family Foundation and countless generous donors, the fundraising campaign to renovate the building is expected to reach its goal in 2022. As construction begins in July, the NVA will host of performances at The Flower Fields in mid-August, with an estimated completion date of the refurbishment being November 2022.
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