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EMPAC Theater, 2008.


This exhibit highlights many of the spaces used by RPI performers and the long journey toward establishing a performing arts center on campus. The RPI community has a long history of extracurricular artistic endeavors even though Rensselaer is firmly established as an institute of science and technology. Musical and dramatic performances have contributed to the arts and culture of the institute. Over time comedy shows, dance recitals, poetry and literary readings, avant garde performance art, and multi-media productions have been added to the artistic and entertainment offerings at Rensselaer.

Until the completion of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in October 2008, no building had been constructed exclusively to support the arts on campus. Lecture rooms have doubled as music halls, gyms have been decked out to disguise their primary functions, and buildings have been renovated to accommodate artists and entertainers. Instrumentalists, theatrical groups, dance troupes, orchestras, bands, a cappella singers, comedians, Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer (iEAR) faculty and students -- all have struggled to find places to perform, both on campus and off.

Since the completion of EMPAC many groups and their artistic expressions now have a home, while others, like the RPI Players, continue to use spaces carved out for them in previous decades. Together, these sites support the wide ranging creative endeavors of the Rensselaer community.

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