ELKINS — Davis & Elkins College will open the Myles Center for the Arts, Myles Plaza and “Discovery & Spirit” sculpture by artist James Grashow in a grand Thursday style. In addition to the ceremony, “A feast of the arts” will honor Board Chair Emeritus June Myles.
Opened in January 2021, the $6.7 million project fulfills Myles’ vision to create an inviting cultural center conducive to hosting a multitude of events on campus and in the community.
“We have waited for many pandemic months to open the doors of the new Myles Center to the community of Elkins-Randolph County and Thursday is the day,” said Chris A. Wood, president of Davis & Elkins College. “Thanks to the vision, passion and generosity of June Myles, D&E has a spectacular new facility to showcase the arts and bring our community together. All are invited to join us for this dedication and celebration.
The Augusta Heritage Center Band and the D&E Highland Dancers will entertain guests upon arrival. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the official ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow with remarks from Davis & Elkins College alumnus and chairman of the board of trustees Mark Barber ’75, student Anna Ruf ’23, alumnus and Elkins Mayor Jerry Marco ’90, Mills Group Chief Executive Michael Mills, Wood, Myles, Grashow and Humanities D&E Division Chairman Dr. Bill King.
Immediately after the inauguration ceremony, “A feast of the arts” will take place throughout the Myles Center for the Arts until 1 p.m. Presentations will include an overview of “Failure: A Love Story” by Phillip Dawkins and performed by D&E students; Old Brick Playhouse Artist-in-Residence and D&E alumnus Jacob Currence ’17; performances by D&E dance students; Visual arts exhibitions, digital media and printmaking demonstrations by D&E students; and music by D&E students, Elkins singer Gracey Metheny and the cast of The Old Brick Playhouse’s “Mama Mia.” Additionally, an exhibit in the lobby of the Harper-McNeeley Auditorium will detail the creative process. “Discovery & Spirit.” Proclamations and letters of recognition for Myles’ commitment to the College and the community will also be on display.
Extensive renovations to the Myles Center for the Arts include a glass-enclosed senate equipped with a state-of-the-art audiovisual system that includes five large screens, a media wall and a drop-down projection screen for presentations. A new elevator and balcony deck make the entire building accessible for people with disabilities at all levels. The stone and brick rotunda, which mirrors the structure of the Madden Student Center, serves as the main entrance to the building.
Myles Plaza has also seen improvements. “Discovery & Spirit”, the 10-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a dancing young couple commissioned by Myles, highlights the area which also features West Virginia-made Blenko glass pavers, conversation sections and tiered seating that can be used as an outdoor classroom. The stone Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring D&E alumni who gave their lives serving their country, is flanked by West Virginia and American flags.
The Myles Center for the Arts is home to the Harper-McNeeley Auditorium, the Paull Gallery, the Joni and Buck Smith Arts Forum, art studios for the D&E Division of Creative Arts, the George A. Myles Pool, the Center for Robbins-Madden fitness and various office spaces.