The Ferst Center for the Arts, located in the heart of the Georgia Tech campus, was conceived as a brilliant showcase for the presentation of concerts, recitals, lectures, dance, film and theater. This state-of-the-art facility housing an intimate 1,155 seat auditorium featuring a proscenium stage, orchestra pit, and theatrical lighting and sound systems, is designed to provide a wealth of diverse and enriching opportunities for both the Georgia Tech and the greater Atlanta community.
The Ferst Center programs an outstanding season of music, theatre, dance, and opera performances from September to May. The wide selection of musical genres includes jazz, classical, blues, bluegrass, folk, and pop. In addition, the center is home to several Atlanta performing arts companies that present all or most of their season at the Ferst: the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Ballethnic Dance Company, and the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. The Georgia Tech Music Department performs several concerts at the Ferst Center throughout the year. DramaTech, the campus theatre group that has its own performance space, performs one show at the Ferst Center each spring. The Ferst Center is available for rental, and performances by student or community organizations are often available to the public. Tickets to all events at the Ferst Center are sold through the Ferst Center Box Office at 404-894-9600.
The Center for the Arts officially opened its doors on Monday, April 13, 1992, with a dedication performance by world-renowned pianist, Andre Watts. Since then, it has hosted an annual season of world-class performances by such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Marcel Marceau and Wynton Marsalis, as well as the 1992 Vice-Presidential debate and the Secretaries of Defense roundtable. The Ferst Center is also host to several local performing arts organizations including Atlanta Lyric Theatre Company, Ballethnic and the Atlanta Ballet. During the 1996 Olympic Games, the Ferst Center enjoyed a visit from President Clinton while playing host to the world as part of the 1996 Olympic Village.
The idea for the Center for the Arts became a reality when the Callaway Foundation donated $3.75 million of the necessary $7.5 million needed for the project and successfully challenged the State of Georgia to match the donation. Other funding has been provided by corporate and private gifts and a commitment to establish a Center for the Arts endowment fund. Originally named the Georgia Tech Theatre for the Arts, the Center was renamed in memory of alumnus Robert Ferst, a man who gave his time, talents, financial support and heart to his alma mater.
The Center for the Arts became truly a center for the arts with the addition of the Richards and Westbrook Galleries. Through the generosity of the Richards and Westbrook families, the Ferst Center hosts not only the best in performing arts, but visual arts as well. Presenting a broad spectrum of artists, the Richards and Westbrook Galleries feature local artist exhibits that combine fine art and technology.
The Ferst Center for the Arts serves as a shining example of Georgia Tech’s dedication to a holistic educational experience and excellence both on campus and in the community. As the Ferst Center continues on its mission to supplement and compliment the institute’s goals, it will endeavor to develop strong, productive links with local and international artistic, corporate, cultural and educational communities.