Senator Alesi Secures $4 Million Gift To Fully Fund

James S. Alesi

September 19, 2008

Nazareth College President Daan Braveman was joined today by Senator Jim Alesi (R-Perinton) to announce $4 million in state funds secured by Alesi for the Nazareth College Arts Center. The $10.5 million project is now fully funded. $3 million of the new gift is going to the Arts Center renovation project, and $1 million is going to address the immediate needs of the rapidly-growing music program which is part of the Arts Center. Following the announcement, Braveman, Alesi and Nazareth College Board of Trustees President Judy Wilmot Linehan, led a ground breaking ceremony for the creation of a formal entrance, patrons lounge and art gallery with major Arts Center supporters such as: the Sands family; the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation; the John and Jayne Summers Foundation; Dawn and Jacques Lipson, M.D.; M&T Bank Foundation; and Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP. For more details, visit .

“This project is a key component of our local economy, as well as a crucial part of our educational enterprise and quality of life,” said Senator Jim Alesi. “This is a significant investment which will produce enormous returns and will benefit our community for decades to come. It is an investment in Nazareth College, its students, its teaching staff, as well as all of the arts groups that are associated with Nazareth; not the least of which is Garth Fagan Dance, Rochester City Ballet, and the Rochester Children’s Theatre. All of which I’ve supported as well throughout the years. I congratulate Daan Braveman, the board of directors, and everyone involved in bringing this magnificent project to the forefront of the artistic endeavors of our community.”

"It is fair to say that there is no stronger supporter of the arts in our community than Senator Alesi," said Daan Braveman, president of Nazareth College. "He truly appreciates the impact of art and culture on the quality of life. And, he understands that the Nazareth College Arts Center and the other wonderful visual and performing arts venues create an economic benefit for the greater Rochester region. Arts Center presentations have over $4 million in economic impact each year. With completion of the renovation in 2009 and establishment of the ten-day summer dance festival in 2010, the Art Center’s economic impact is expected to grow by at least $500,000 in the first season. The College is fortunate to have his support in continuing to present quality artists and artistic events that enrich the cultural lives of our students and the greater Rochester community."

When the Nazareth College Arts Center reopens in September 2009, audiences will experience a new state-of-the-art facility - designed to optimize aesthetics, accessibility, and comfort. Nazareth College is excited about the Arts Center Gala Opening, featuring a performance by world-renowned Garth Fagan Dance with the Ying Quartet, and a performance from Rochester City Ballet.

Renovation enhancements include:

Complete renovation of 41-year-old Callahan Theater to transform stage from thrust style (extends into the audience on three sides) to hybrid between thrust and proscenium or “picture frame” stage.

Installation of fly system to allow technical crews to move sets, lights, and other stage materials quickly on- and off- stage.

Installation of sprung floor, which makes floor able to absorb shocks of dancers and actors’ movements and provides extra traction to reduce slipping.

Replacement of lighting, temperature and air circulation systems.

Revamping of seats for better sight lines and greater accessibility. Renovated theater will have more than 900 seats.

Creation of more welcoming, formal entrance at level of parking lot.

Construction of larger, secure art gallery space to complement Colacino Gallery.

Elegant patrons lounge off lobby.


The Arts Center renovation is being funded as a partnership among private donors, business, and government funds. The Arts Center has been fortunate to have support from New York State Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle; Senator Jim Alesi; Assemblyman David Gantt and the Rochester delegation; the Sands family; the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation; the John and Jayne Summers Foundation; Dawn and Jacques Lipson, M.D.; M&T Bank Foundation; Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP; and other very generous private donors.

The Arts Center is the home of Rochester Children’s Theatre, which co-produces with Nazareth College Arts Center and Rochester City Ballet, and the performance home of Garth Fagan Dance and Rochester City Ballet. Each year, nearly 75-thousand people come through the Arts Center, including thousands of young children who attend productions of the Rochester Children's Theatre and performances by other nationally known children's theatre companies. There is another area in particular that the Nazareth College Arts Center is known for—dance, both modern and ethnic.

Founded in 1924, Nazareth College is a coeducational college with undergraduate and graduate studies in the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs in health and human services, education, and management. The College is located on 150 scenic acres near Rochester, New York, and currently enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate and 800 graduate students. Nazareth has a strong commitment to experience-based learning and civic engagement. In the past decade, Nazareth has produced 18 Fulbright recipients and two Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowships. For more information on the College, visit