Connect with us

All Articles

Manhattanville Gets Artsy

This! But uptown

That was quick! From within the blushing blue Low earlier tonight, PrezBo announced that the recent recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Medal, H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest (LW ’58), has pledged to donate $30 million to a new “multidisciplinary arts venue” in the now ever-growing Manhattanville campus (no wonder he received the award!). The new Lenfest Center for the Arts will feature an art gallery, film screening room, and performance space, all designed by the renowned Italian architect Rezno Piano, One of the master designers behind the Manhattanville campus, Piano also dreamed up the NYTimes skycraper just downtown. PrezBo’s full announcement below.

Dear Fellow Member of the Columbia Community:

I am pleased to announce that University Trustee H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest (LW ’58) has pledged $30 million to help build a multidisciplinary arts venue on the Manhattanville campus. I announced the gift at this evening’s Alexander Hamilton Medal dinner, where the Columbia College Alumni Association honored Mr. Lenfest with the College’s highest award.

The Lenfest Center for the Arts will play a central role in the development of the Manhattanville campus and in the life of the University. This six-floor facility to be designed by Renzo Piano will be more than a beautiful building containing an art gallery, a film screening room, and a performance space: it will serve as a hub for the creation of new work and the refinement of works in progress across various media, featuring exhibitions, theatrical performances, symposia, and lectures that present new artistic voices and perspectives from around the globe. Under the direction of Carol Becker, dean of the School of the Arts, these programs will produce a rich variety of innovative collaborations with other Columbia schools and departments. The resources made available by the center also will strengthen Columbia’s longstanding ties to the vibrant local arts community based in Harlem, generating partnerships with talented artists in northern Manhattan and throughout New York City.

It is fitting that this new facility, which embraces many of Columbia’s current initiatives while also celebrating our ties to a proud history of artistic creativity, is made possible by a gift from Gerry Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite. The Lenfests’ generosity to Columbia University has been remarkable, including the endowment of faculty chairs in the Arts and Sciences, the endowment of professorships in the Core Curriculum and at the Law School, support for the Columbia University Earth Institute and the Medical Center, and creation of the Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards.

Through their commitment to higher education and to Columbia, the Lenfests have deeply and positively affected the lives of countless undergraduate and graduate students and helped sustain the work of many of our faculty. Now we are fortunate to be able to look forward to the opening of the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a facility promising to be a great showcase for the creativity of students, faculty and guest artists, as well as a welcoming venue for Columbia’s large artistic community and many others beyond our campus.


Lee C. Bollinger

Not actually the design via Wikipedia

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published.



  • Dangling Modifier says:

    @Dangling Modifier “One of the master designers behind the Manhattanville campus, Piano’s portfolio includes the NYTimes skycraper just downtown.” Piano’s portfolio is not a master designer, Piano is.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I say FUCK this building– students are being fucked over with tuition inflation, the neighborhood’s being destroyed, and now some dick-wad with a fat wallet whose ass Bollinger licks will “contribute” all this money to some art space thats not needed! It won’t be a space for connecting minds and strengthening the character of students, nor will it be a space that benefits us in any way. It will be a place where the higher ups will be able to gather for cocktail parties and engage in their perverse intellectual masturbation. Columbia does not give one shit about the students nor this neighborhood. We go, “ooh, look at those cool waves,” and that is where our thought process stops. Think about it. Just, think about it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous why don’t columbia spend the money on need-blind policy for international students………

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Because, in all fairness to students from the US, international students don’t “need” to attend an American school.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous SoA will get fancy nice new spaces, and undergrads will MAYBE get the Schapiro Black Box.

    1. Not an SoA student but... says:

      @Not an SoA student but... SoA has VERY little space. And it’s shoddy space. And they pay $80,000 out of pocket, presumably for the facilities they lack. You can’t go to a big university and complain that the school caters to grad students. That’s true to the same extent everywhere.

      I can’t believe people are even whining about this at all. Until this announcement I believe all of the buildings were meant to be for science and business programs. Plus, Columbia undergrads would bitch if they had to walk up to 125th (or further); they would never do it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Lenfest is an awesome guy. I met him at the distinguished faculty awards banquet since he makes that possible. He plans to give all his money away before he dies so he has given some impressive amounts to some great causes. Check out his wikipedia page.

  • cool says:

    @cool really excited for students to not be allowed to use it!!!!

  • I've been wondering: says:

    @I've been wondering: Would it be acceptable, upon seeing a tour group, to run up, shake the young ones by the shoulders, and scream, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” ?

    -CC ’12

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Sadly, the kid won’t get the reference until he/she is here and taking LitHum, at which point it will be too late for the poor soul…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Manhattanville has always been artsy. The biggest Visual Arts program building has been there on 125th for a long time–with a woodshop, metal shop, studios, a bar, and a pimpin’ rooftop.

    But yeah, this school needs more space for the arts.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous This school needs more space for *everything*. I am sick of taking classes with grad students.

  • performance space... says:

    @performance space... please just make a theatre, not another fucking roone arledge auditorium. or event oval. or closet turned black box.

    and let undergrads use please?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Any chance of the undergrads being able to use current SOA space? (Once the new building is finished…)

    1. Yes! says:

      @Yes! The University has said that most of the buildings vacated will be reconfigured for arts and sciences, which means there’s definitely a chance undergrads will have the option to use these buildings. Unfortunately, that’s not in the academic lifetimes of anyone currently at the school, as these buildings won’t be done until 2016.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Yes, this campus is more undergrads as well. The eventual vacated space on the main campus will also be converted to space and classrooms for undergraduates.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I just looked up Renzo Piano’s past works and wow, I am really excited to see how this building turns out!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Renzo Piano is one of the greatest living architects. Awesome shit!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Well that’s nice of Mr. Lenfest. Doubtful they’ll create a build space so all the theater groups don’t have to build in the EC courtyard though.

    This university treats it’s students like trash.

    1. it's its says:

      @it's its not it’s

  • Have Your Say

    What should Bwog's new tagline be?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Recent Comments

    More inaccurate sensationalism. Columbia will be using and taking bids from Union and non union construction workers. (read more)
    Columbia To Use Non-Union Labor For Manhattanville Dorm Construction, Carpenters Union (NYCDCC) Protests
    September 25, 2020
    Columbia should choose the best and the brightest students with the most potential without regard to race, creed, color, religion. (read more)
    What Should CU’s Admissions Criteria Really Be
    September 25, 2020
    The love of Columbia. (read more)
    What Keeps Low Fountains Erect?
    September 24, 2020
    “Lowe” (read more)
    What Keeps Low Fountains Erect?
    September 24, 2020

    Comment Policy

    The purpose of Bwog’s comment section is to facilitate honest and open discussion between members of the Columbia community. We encourage commenters to take advantage of—without abusing—the opportunity to engage in anonymous critical dialogue with other community members. A comment may be moderated if it contains:
    • A slur—defined as a pejorative derogatory phrase—based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or spiritual belief
    • Hate speech
    • Unauthorized use of a person’s identity
    • Personal information about an individual
    • Baseless personal attacks on specific individuals
    • Spam or self-promotion
    • Copyright infringement
    • Libel
    • COVID-19 misinformation