Do you hear the beat – the one coming from the stately building standing on the east side of MNU? It’s the beat of the arts, and the building is Bell Cultural Events Center.
The Bell Cultural Events Center was conceived as a dream – to have a beautiful, useable and flexible Fine Arts academic building and cultural center with a state-of-the-art performing arts hall – a dream that took some 20 years to fulfill.
When MNU first opened its doors in 1968, the Fine Arts Division set up “temporary” residence in Dobson Hall – the building directly to the east of Bell Center. Built to be used for office and classroom space – not for practice rooms, a choir and a band, it quickly became evident that no one practiced “alone” since everyone in the building could hear everyone else.
When Dr. Dennis Crocker became division chair in 1986, he began dreaming of the day when MNU would be known not only for its musicians, but for its fine arts facility. Dr. Crocker believed there are no academic disciplines more impacted by a facility than music and theatre. The dream came to fruition after years of planning and many generous financial contributions with the official opening of Bell Cultural Events Center in August of 2007. It serves both the musicians and thespians of the University with excellence.
The 40,000 square foot building was designed by a talented architectural team from Hollis & Miller. The acoustical engineer was Joseph Myers of Kirkegaard and Associates. The audio and visual state-of-the-art technology was designed and installed by Premier Studios. The EBCO Construction Group made sure that all the designs and drawings and engineering details were put in the proper places. This attention to detail built a building that has been called an “instrument.”
In the Grand Lobby is a commissioned painting, “To His Praise,” by Ann Williams. This piece complements the four verses of the Charles Wesley hymn, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” that circles the entire lobby.
The Bell Cultural Events Center is a busy complex, hosting some 150 to 200 special events throughout the year, not including regular classes and University events. It serves not only the University community, but the Olathe, Kansas and Johnson County, Kansas communities as well.
The dream has come true. And the beat goes on!
Description: A formal lounge area located off the Grand Lobby to the left of the south entrance It is home to a 1900 Packard Organ donated by Don and Faith Bell and family in memory of their daughter and sister, Judie Faith Bell Hooven. It is also home to a 1877 Roisch grand piano, donated by Murdell Weatherby Holbert in memory of her mother, Ivy Weatherby.
Purpose: The Gilmore Hospitality Room is a formal social reception and executive meeting room located off the Grand Lobby in the Bell Cultural Events Center, and is intended to provide a more formal atmosphere for social receptions, select meal functions, executive meetings, and cultural events.
Approximate Capacity: 75 for a standing reception; 40 for dinner event (maximum of 5 – 5’ round tables with 8 chairs at each); 20 to 26 for meeting with conference tables
Audio/Visual Equipment: Public access to audio/visual equipment
Description: Classroom/lab space containing 12 Yamaha Clavinova pianos for students and 1 Yamaha Clavinova for teacher.
Purpose: Classroom/lab available for academic purposes.
The 40,000 square foot Bell Cultural Events Center opened in August 2007. It showcases the talents of the MNU Fine and Preforming Arts students and local artist and preforming arts companies. You can rent many of the rooms within this state-of-the-art facility.
Description: Lobby area at front entrance of the Bell Cultural Events Center
Purpose: Grand Lobby is for the gathering of guests before or after an event in the Mabee Performing Arts Hall. It may also be used, on a limited basis, for dinners, receptions and/or special gatherings when these events are not in conflict with other scheduled activities.
Approximate Capacity: 200 in audience type seating; 168 for reception/meal events with maximum of 21 round tables, 8 chairs per table; standing room 300 to 350.
Audio/Visual Equipment: Available upon request
Description: Large rehearsal room located to the west of the Mabee Performing Arts Hall. Primarily to be used for the instrumental classroom and rehearsals by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. It may be reserved by outside Users if requested date is not in conflict with academic schedules.
Purpose: Instrumental classroom and rehearsals. In the event of a large cast or number of participants in a musical event to be held in the Mabee Performing Arts Hall, this room may be used as a warm-up and/or Green Room. May also be used as a meeting room if requested and approved.
Approximate Seating: 75 in orchestral set-up; 160 in lecture hall set-up
Audio/Visual Equipment: Available upon request
Mabee Performing Arts Hall
Description: Main stage theatre with audience seating capacity of 541
Stage Size: 43 ft deep by 36 ft wide (inside shell) 43 ft deep by 65 ft wide (with shell open) 12 ft deep by 44 ft wide - downstage proscenium (with main stage curtain closed)
Purpose: The Mabee Performing Arts Hall is available for speaking presentations, musical concerts, theatrical performances, and rehearsals. It is not to be used for weddings, funerals, as a movie theatre, or for those events determined to be athletic in nature.
Audio/Visual Equipment: A complete specification list is available upon request
Description: Large rehearsal room located to the east of the Mabee Performing Arts Hall. Primarily to be used for the choral classroom and rehearsals by the Fine and Performing Arts Department. It may be reserved by outside Users for recitals (vocal and piano) if requested date not in conflict with academic schedules.
Purpose: Choral classroom and rehearsals. Also available for private student recitals, classes, speaking presentations and meetings.
Approximate Seating: 65 chairs on choral risers. Additional chairs may be added for a total seating capacity of approximately 120.
Audio/Visual Equipment: Available on request