LSC-University Park debuts new Visual and Performing Arts Center with ribbon-cutting ceremony

Marking a Milestone: Lone Star College Chancellor Mario K. Castillo (center) prepares to cut the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of LSC-University Park's Visual and Performing Arts Center.
Marking a Milestone: Lone Star College Chancellor Mario K. Castillo (center) prepares to cut the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of LSC-University Park's Visual and Performing Arts Center.

Lone Star College-University Park (LSC-University Park) unveiled its new Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPA) with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 6. Funded by a 2014 voter-approved bond, the $25 million facility represents a major investment in the area's cultural and academic landscape.

"The Visual and Performing Arts Center opening signifies a defining moment for our institution," said Virginia M. Fraire, Ph.D., president of LSC-University Park. "It is a testament to the power of collaboration and the unwavering support of our community. Together, we've opened the door to a new era of artistic exploration, and our commitment to student success remains at its core."

The event started with an impressive showcase of musical skills, as guests enjoyed the tunes of a student jazz combo upon arrival. LSC-University Park student and staff member Jacelle Ortiz helped open the official ceremony by delivering a stirring rendition of the national anthem. After the ribbon-cutting, the celebration continued with the lively performance by the Klein Collins High School Mariachi Tigre band, infusing the occasion with vibrant musical energy.

Lone Star College Chancellor Mario K. Castillo (center) cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of LSC-University Park's Visual and Performing Arts Center. Bobby Lieb, President and CEO of the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce, presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with Lone Star College (LSC) Chancellor Mario K. Castillo, J.D., having the honor of cutting the ribbon. LSC Board of Trustee Miriam Saldivar, an alum of LSC, also shared a few words and joined in the celebration, emphasizing the center's role in enriching the educational experience.

Patricia Harless, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts and former State Representative, spoke at the event on behalf of her husband, State Representative Sam Harless. She presented a Texas flag and a proclamation from the state legislature to the president of LSC-University Park.

The event also featured remarks from Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey who presented a proclamation acknowledging the center's significance to the area's cultural landscape.

After the ribbon cutting, attendees explored the 30,000-square-foot facility, which boasts a 338-seat mainstage theater with an orchestra pit, a 100-seat Black Box Theatre, an art gallery, an art studio, and a lobby with LED video walls. The self-guided tours allowed visitors to experience firsthand the state-of-the-art facilities designed to enhance educational and artistic opportunities for students.

LSC-University Park students Elijah Pickney and Sara Tatar shared their enthusiasm. “I had been waiting for this building for over a year. To be there holding the ribbon, I was truly honored,” said Pickney. Tatar echoed this sentiment, “It was an absolute honor to be one of the ribbon holders. I have been extremely eager to participate in events in the new building. Seeing the building complete [it] is both beautiful and exciting! I will cherish this moment forever!”

The grand opening concluded with a performance of "A Christmas Carol" radio play on the VPA's main stage, showcasing the potential of the new center as a vibrant hub for artistic expression.

LSC-University Park aims to establish the center as a critical resource for community performers and artists and its student body. Classes in the new facility are scheduled to start in Spring 2024.

For more information on the VPA and upcoming events, please visit www.lonestar.edu/UP-VPA. To learn about program offerings or to register for classes at LSC-University Park, visit www.LoneStar.edu/StartUP, call 281-290-2600, or email UPAdvising@LoneStar.edu.

Established in 2012, Lone Star College-University Park has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing and most innovative higher education institutions in the country. The college, led by President Virginia M. Fraire, Ph.D., is devoted to impacting the community's prosperity and upward mobility through student success. LSC-University Park's expert and compassionate faculty and staff provide students with holistic and immersive education and training in disciplines and industries that meet current and future workforce needs. 

Located on the grounds of the former Compaq Computer Corporation and Hewlett Packard's world headquarters, LSC-University Park's facilities include the Center for Science & Innovation, the Energy & Manufacturing Institute, Learning Innovation Labs and the Geology Rock Wall. It is also home to the University of Houston-NW Downtown, Lone Star Corporate College, iSchool and YMCA Children's Academy. 

Lone Star College enrolls over 80,000 students each semester providing high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Mario K. Castillo, J.D., serves as Chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area. LSC has been named a 2023 Great Colleges to Work For® institution by the Chronicle of Higher Education and recognized by Fortune Magazine and Great Place To Work® as one of this year’s Best Workplaces in Texas™. LSC consists of eight colleges, seven centers, eight Workforce Centers of Excellence and Lone Star Corporate College. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.

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