F.W. Olin Hall for Arts and Humanities, home of the Fine Arts department, serves as a major cultural arts center for the Roanoke Valley. Some of the outstanding facilities available in Olin Hall include a 404-seat main stage theater with computerized lighting and sound systems, 125-seat recital hall, 500- seat outdoor amphitheater; versatile classrooms, art studios, practice rooms, 100-seat studio theatre, music rehearsal hall, sculpture garden, media classrooms, and faculty offices.
Running parallel to the active studio and art history programs for students is programming in the Olin Hall galleries, which presents an annual season of nine art exhibitions and events complementing art and art history studies, as well as national touring exhibitions from such institutions as theVirginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Smithsonian. In addition, student works are exhibited annually in Olin Hall, culminating in the art majors’ exhibition held each year in the Olin and Smoyer Galleries.
In studio art, students in Olin Hall can develop their creativity in modern and fully-equipped painting, drawing, design, graphic art, computer, photography, printmaking, ceramic, and sculpture studios and laboratories. Students in art history study in Olin Hall’s excellent lecture rooms, where they discover, examine, and analyze visual masterworks of the past and relate them to current understanding of the social, political, religious, and aesthetic contexts of these works.
In music, a student may audition for the Roanoke College Choir, which performs at special events and on-campus and off-campus programs throughout the year.A Spring tour is often a part of the choir’s schedule.The Roanoke College Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble perform four concerts a year as well as provide musical support for the College’s spring commencement ceremony and several sporting events. Student chamber ensembles and soloists perform on Music at Noon concerts. Olin Hall also provides opportunities to hear the College’s resident chamber ensemble, the Kandinsky Trio. Among its many instruments, Olin Hall is home to an exceptionally fine Steinway “D” concert grand piano.
In theatre arts, students audition for parts in several theatrical productions each year. Shows have included Antigone, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dracula, Hedda Gabler, Miss Julie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Good Woman of Setzuan,The Heidi Chronicles, Laramie Project, 1959 Pink Thunderbird Convertible, Godspell,The Fantastiks, Little Shop of Horrors, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Participation in theatre arts at Roanoke College gives students experience in acting, makeup, costuming, set design, lighting, stage management, and publicity, among other phases of production.This experience is available to students from all majors at the College.
Because Olin Hall is a prominent center for cultural activities in the Roanoke Valley, students at the college are fortunate to have exposure to many local and visiting artists, a roster that has in past years included such notable names as Christopher Parkening, Marian McPartland, John Cage, Philip Glass, Chanticleer, Solisti di Zagreb (Yugoslavian chamber orchestra), Dizzie Gillespie, and Metropolitan Opera stars Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, and Elizabeth Futrell. Music students have had the benefit of personal instruction from these and numerous other visiting artists. In addition, Opera Roanoke and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra have used the Olin Hall facility for their concerts in past seasons, and each season the department hosts the American Shakespeare Center from the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton,Virginia.