ASU Gammage, known as the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium in full, is a multi-purpose performing arts center located at Tempe’s East Apache Boulevard, along 1200 South Forest Avenue.
The venue strives to bring art to live, giving locals and guests alike an opportunity to interact with artistic pieces, and other creative masterpieces from local artists. Their mission to connect communities drives them to create more powerful, impactful, and educative community programs year in year out. The Cultural Participation department at ASU Gammage creates access for adults and kids of all ages, backgrounds, and economic levels.
Most children in Tempe usually get their first live arts experience in a college campus setting through one of the programs offered at ASU Gammage. The Journey Home Program helps in transforming the lives of incarcerated women. The High School Musical Theatre Awards see to it that high school students get the chance to shine through celebrating their efforts. Through the Gammage’s internship and master classes, ASU students get to engage with renowned Broadway professionals and world-class artists without necessarily leaving campus grounds.
The Gammage’s journey dates back to 1957, when Grady Gammage, ASU’s former president had a vision to establish a distinct university auditorium on ASU’s campus. He called on his close pal, and renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, to help with the project. Luckily, almost coincidentally even, Wright had a design he had previously prepared for a Baghdad-based opera house. The Baghdad opera house planned flopped, so he decided to use the design for the ASU Gammage.
Wright took a tour of the campus, during which he took a liking to a particular athletic field. He even went ahead to say, “I believe this is the site. The structure should be circular in design and yes, with outstretched arms, saying ‘Welcome to ASU!'” the last two years of his life saw Wright work on the building’s sketches. It was William Welsey Peters, one of his most trusted aides, that brought his plans to fruition.
The $2.46M building took approximately 2 years (25 Months) to construct. The structure stands 80ft. high (which is roughly 8 stories high as per conventional building standards) and it measures 300*250ft. adding to the feeling of vastness are two pedestrian bridges that extend for 200ft., kind of like open welcoming arms. Construction of the buildings was completed in 1964 September. This is the only Wright-designed public building in Arizona.
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