CSU’s University Center for the Arts celebrates its 5th Anniversary

Students walk through the vibrant UCA garden on Wednesday afternoon on their way to and from campus.
Students walk through the vibrant UCA garden on their way to and from campus.

Home is more than just a house. It is a place you go to because you love the people, the things and the person you become when you are there.

Just as a home is more than a house, CSU’s University Center for the Arts is more than just a building.

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This fall marks the UCA’s 5th anniversary. Many Fort Collins inhabitants remember this building as the former Fort Collins High School. When CSU purchased the vacated building in 2008, it became a place that would impact the community in ways bigger than itself.

Marketing Director at the UCA Jennifer Clary was a part of the initial opening.

“It’s very special to me to see the progress that we’ve made over the last five years, living in the building and seeing the actual goals and dreams made at the opening come to life is a special experience,” Clary said.

Clary has had the extraordinary opportunity to see the impacts the UCA has made on students at CSU.

“Seeing the students have a state-of-the-art venue to perform in, learn in and spend their day in is a treasure to the university and to everyone who works here,” Clary said.

The UCA is incentivized to give back to the community members and students of CSU, who were the primary funders in its opening. One of the UCA’s initiatives with the City of Fort Collins provides free tickets to community members for Sunday night theater productions. Productions on Thursdays are free for students.

Trevor Grattan is a senior Theater major at CSU and has enjoyed the experience of watching the UCA bloom.

“Since I joined the theatre program three years ago, everything has been growing and developing in the UCA,” Grattan said. “The UCA is my second home, not because I spend most of my time working there but because everyone is extremely nice and they feel like a large family.”

Grattan said the biggest hope for the UCA is to bring more students in to appreciate the building and its programs.

“I would love to see more CSU students come out to see all of the great shows that the students of the UCA put all their time and energy into,” Grattan said. “If the faculty continues to keep to the path that they are on, it will only continue to improve.”

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Publicity and Alumni coordinator Carrie Care agreed with Grattan.

“[The faculty] is so good at what they do,” Care said. “They are artists through and through, but they also know how to plan and what is effective and what impacts people.”

Care has spent the last two years working for the UCA.

“It’s been really encouraging and wonderful to see what a priority the arts are at Colorado State and Fort Collins,” she said. “It’s really unique to have art, theater and dance all together in one facility. We’re certainly all varied, but we share a lot of goals and hopes and resources as well. [The UCA] has brought these three areas together.”

Care went on to describe the UCA as “more than just a building.” CSU freshman Jamie Noth agreed.

“It gives a sense of diversity and difference,” Noth said. “It’s about expressing yourself and being able to showcase yourself. That’s what college is about.”

The UCA has been ranked one of the top university art facilities in the west. The anniversary events celebrate everything the building has brought forth to the CSU campus and Fort Collins community as a whole.

This weekend is the University Symphony Orchestra Concert at the UCA, which will feature special guest performer Anne-Marie McDermott on piano. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27.

Following the concert, at 9:30 p.m., there will be a celebratory reception in the UCA’s Griffin Lobby for all concert ticket holders.

Tickets can be purchased from the UCA ticket lobby or by calling (970) 491-ARTS (2787).

Entertainment writer Peyton Garcia can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.