Fine and Performing Arts Center readies new season

The Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University is one of the area’s premiere venues for both education and entertainment. The WC recently interviewed Paul Lormand, director of the FPAC, to learn more about the facility. Constructing the FPAC was a long and involved process. “Eleven years ago, a bond in North Carolina was passed,” said Lormand. “$30 million of this bond went to construction of the FPAC. The groundbreaking for construction began in March 2000. The facility took over five years to build,” Lormand continued, “because various problems delayed the opening more than the university had planned.” Despite these delays, the FPAC has become a most impressive building. Several people have played an important role in the creation and day-to-day operations of the FPAC. “Graham Gung from Boston was the architect of the building,” said Lormand. Because of the building’s fine appearance, most would agree that Gung’s work was quite successful. Lormand also spoke about the everyday activities that take place in the FPAC. “The building has a small staff, and we get support from students,” Lormand said. The dedication of these individuals ensures that the FPAC runs smoothly and that people enjoy the features it has to offer. Due to its many functions, the FPAC has a specific and thorough organization. “The building is divided into three sections: the Fine Arts Building with classical works, the museum galleries and the performance halls,” said Lormand. “Many of its events are a part of LCE, or Lectures, Concerts, and Exhibitions. Academically, the FPAC is a part of the Department of Theater, Music and Dance, and it is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. Smoky Mountain High School also uses the building for various functions.” The capability of the FPAC to provide these services has elevated its status since the building’s creation. Lormand also discussed the goals of the FPAC in terms of learning. “The FPAC wants to do three main things,” he said. “It wants to relate art to everyday life. It wants to provide a cultural environment beyond the classroom. Finally, it wants to challenge the minds, touch the souls and reach the hearts of its audience.” By working to accomplish these goals, the FPAC entertains its visitors while educating them at the same time. The FPAC provides several programs throughout the year to appeal to different sections of its audience. “The ‘Learning to Live’ series features programs for children in grades K-12,” said Lormand. “In addition, the Subscription Series is composed of various events that take place in the facility.” By providing programs such as these, the FPAC increases its appeal to connoisseurs of all ages. Motives and rewards encourage the FPAC staff to continue working to make the facility appealing. “It was exciting and rewarding to get the facility up and running,” said Lormand. Despite the delays in its construction, the workers never gave up and ended up creating a very nice building on the WCU campus. The FPAC also thinks about its audiences. “The students, faculty and staff of WCU are important, along with our neighbors in Jackson County,” said Lormand. Since these people are the primary customers of the FPAC, events they would enjoy are the goal of the building’s staff. These motives and rewards make people feel good about the facility and the many events it has to offer. For more information about the FPAC at Western Carolina University, please visit its website at The website features information about the facility, an easy way to purchase tickets online, and the opportunity to support the center financially. The website also lists the schedule of upcoming events for the FPAC. The Performances and Theater Department plans a variety of programs, including Cirque Le Masque, an acrobatic stage show; “Out of the Mist a Dragon” from the Wood and Strings Theater; and “Amadeus,” a show from the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada. Similarly, the Fine Arts Museum has a lineup of interesting events planned for the year. Several programs are planned in the facility, and several noted artists, historians and critics will be featured. A complete list of these events is available on the center website, as well. The Fine and Performing Arts Center of Western Carolina University looks forward to an entertaining and educational season this spring.