A New First for All: The Prior Performing Arts Center

Everyone needs a makeover every once in a while, even Holy Cross. Maybe you’ve seen all the hype, or maybe you’ve missed it in the black hole of social media, but there’s a new and refreshing addition to the Hill: the Prior Performing Arts Center.  

I would consider myself an art person, but certainly not an artist. Growing up, I danced, but I’ve always loved watching live performances of plays, musicals, and all types of music. And this new performing arts center is absolutely remarkable. I’ve only been inside once or twice (so far), and it is incredible. My apologies for the minimal pictures; that’s just an excuse for you to get over to Worcester and visit for yourselves! This captivating space is now home to the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, a concert hall, a theater, and many spaces for students to create in whatever art form they find fit, like design, dance, theater, and so much more! 

As an art history enthusiast, I will likely find myself in the upgraded Cantor Art Gallery, given how welcoming it feels. Not to say that it wasn’t loved before; the love just grew even deeper in this new space. Well deserved if you ask me! The first time I went to the Prior Performing Arts Center was to view the current exhibition at the art gallery: “Afterimage: Visual Arts Faculty 2022.” This is a wonderful showing of Holy Cross’ own visual arts faculty showing their hard work. For someone who has a special interest in ancient and medieval art, this was certainly out of my comfort zone because it was modern and abstract art. Regardless, it was still breathtaking, and the new space gives it the perfect opportunity to show off for the first time.

Inside the Prior Performing Arts Center. They call this the “Beehive.”

In exciting news, my art history class this semester, called “Kings & Caliphs: the Art of Luxury,” will be working with the following exhibit: “Bringing the Holy Land Home: The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and the Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece.” My professor, Amanda Luyster, has been working extremely hard and long on this project. Trust me. You will not want to miss it. I repeat. You will NOT want to miss this! January 26, 2022, through April 6, 2023. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there! I feel so lucky to be learning under such an incredibly talented art historian whose passion shines through my course and this entire project. There is art coming from all around the world, surrounded by the Chertsey Tiles, which are being loaned from the British Museum! I know. It’s going to be insanely amazing! For our semester-long research project, I will be working closely with the Seal of the Latin Emperor Henry Flanders. Although his seal is extremely small, it is still mighty! As I begin putting together my own research as part of this lovely project, I’m lucky to be a part of this magnificent exhibition in any way.

“Bringing the Holy Land Home: The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and The Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece.”

Coming up in November, there will also be performances of Iphigenia by Euripides, translated by Holy Cross Classics’ very own Professor Mary Ebbott. (And, my very own Greek professor! Can I get any luckier?) Again. You will not want to miss this! I just bought my ticket, and I hope you will too! 

So, I’m not entirely sure what type of vibe you’re catching, but if you have not got the hint that you should be heading to Holy Cross to check out the Prior Performing Arts Center and these glorious events, you better reread this from the start. This is the start of something great; you can be a part of it! See you there!

Fun Fact: the Prior Performing Arts Center is in the shape of a cross, which you can see through aerial view photography. And there are doors on each side so you can walk into the heart of the center from anywhere. Fitting, if you ask me!