Deming Hall Undergoes Phase One of Renovation

March 22, 2017

Mary Baldwin University’s Bertie Murphy Deming Fine Arts Center has gone through phase one of an internal makeover thanks in part to a gift from a charitable trust bearing an alumna’s namesake.

With phase one of the project main-floor and theatre lobbies received new flooring and light fixtures, along with new coats of paint on the wall.

“I think the new lobbies are light, bright, and an inviting entrances for students and theatre patrons alike,” said Professor of Theatre Terry Southerington ’72.

The Rea Charitable Trust donated $119,000 to renovate the main lobby of Deming Hall; replace the floor, light fixtures, ceiling, window treatments, and desks in two classrooms; and installs a new floor in the theatre lobby.

Deming Hall is home to the fine arts programs on the MBU campus as well as the Fletcher Collins Theater which hosts thousands of people each year.

Daughter of a well-known Midland, Texas, ranching family, Isabel McClintic Rea ’39 was known as one of the town’s most talented pianists. She majored in music at Mary Baldwin. Based in Midland, the trust was established in 2009 in honor of Rea and her husband, Bryce Rea Jr.

Professor of Music Lise Keiter became the go-between for the foundation and the university after representatives from the foundation reached out to her regarding the donations.

Keiter decided she wanted to use the grant toward something that will leave an impact on students for years to come.

Southerington, Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Paul Menzer, and Director of Facilities Management Brent Douglass came on board the project and drafted the proposal that would benefit the music department as well as other segments of the performing arts community at MBU.

Phase two will consist of digital signage, which will include all upcoming arts programs and events, as well as new carpeting and a complete refurbishment of three classrooms. The theatre will receive new hardwood flooring and the art studio will also undergo a facelift.

“Students are now saying they enjoy coming to Deming,” Keiter said. “They have commented that the new lighting in the lobby is much more cheerful and welcoming–especially when they come to the building at night.  These improvements have already really made a difference.”

Douglass expects the project to be complete by the end of the summer.

In 1983, Mary Baldwin University dedicated the Deming Fine Arts Center in honor of Bertie Murphy Deming Smith in gratitude for her family’s generous contributions in her honor. She is the largest donor in the university’s history.