Pendleton West Reopens as New Collaborative Arts Center

Bandaloop dances on Pendleton West
Photo provided by Jennifer Mou ’18
October 19, 2017

After two years of construction, the formal celebration of the opening of Pendleton West, Wellesley’s new interdisciplinary arts building, kicked off on October 18. The series of festive events, collectively titled Transformations: Celebrating Pendleton West, runs through October 21.  

Performances by pioneering vertical dance group BANDALOOP are among the highlights of the celebration. The group has performed in theaters and museums as well as on skyscrapers, bridges, and billboards. And just as the dancers are able to transcend traditional limitations of gravity, so too will Wellesley’s new building help transcend the traditional boundaries of discipline.

The Pendleton West renovation, which began in June 2015, included an overhaul of the existing space and a 10,000-square-foot addition for both visual and musical arts that incorporates classroom, studio, rehearsal, and intimate performance spaces to flexibly accommodate the needs of Wellesley’s emerging and traditional arts and media programs.

Transformations also features a discussion with two of the creators of the new space: Stephen Kieran of the architecture firm KieranTimberlake and Jesse Nicholson of landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. “The idea was to completely integrate a performative acoustical system into the architecture of the building so that you couldn't tell what was architecture and what was performance,” says Kieran.

Additional events include performances by the Wellesley College Chamber Singers  of a newly commissioned piece by Grammy award–winning composer Augusta Read Thomas and other works by her performed by the Parker Quartet; a performance by the Wellesley College Theatre  of excerpts from their fall musical Working, which examines workers across the spectrum of American life and has been updated for the 21st century with new songs by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda; open art studios featuring exhibitions and installations by alumnae and current students; guided tours and family activities at the Davis Museum; and much more.