SCU Opens New Art Building

SCU Opens New Art Building
By Robert Haugh, Photos by Betsy Megas

Santa Clara University is leading the way in establishing a new era for arts at campus, opening the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building on Oct. 22.

“We are so excited to welcome guests to join us in celebrating a new era for the arts at Santa Clara University,” said Debbie Tahmassebi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in an SCU press release. “The opening of the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building and the resulting creation of an SCU Arts District make obvious our commitment to arts education and collaborations with our community arts partners to realize an arts neighborhood.”

A community celebration was held on the Franklin Street Promenade (Franklin Street at Alviso), officially launching the designation of Santa Clara University’s Arts District on campus supporting programs in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, digital filmmaking, literary arts, and the de Saisset Museum.

The 46,416-square-foot structure features three floors, boasting instructional studios for ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, painting, a dark room, a dedicated photo lighting studio, seven new classrooms, a gallery and an exterior sculpture garden.

One of highlights of the celebration event was visitors getting a chance to view the stunning Dale Chihuly ( sculpture “Persian and Horn Chandelier” hanging in the foyer. You can view a video of the installation of the hanging work of art at

Chihuly’s works are included in more than 200 museums Worldwide. Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem saw more than one million visitors attend the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. He has has Other major exhibition venues including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in 2011 and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2013.

In addition, performances including jazz combo, inoperable humor improv, readings, one-act plays, poetry performances, Native American dancers, Balinese Gamelan Ensemble  and an artists’ gallery were held. Demos and activities included theatrical lighting, ceramics, printmaking, drawing, jazz dance, crochet and more. Self-guided tours of the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building, docent-led tours of de Saisset Museum, a Campus Archaeology Exhibit, Student Artwork Display, and Slide Shows were held throughout the day also.

According to an SCU press release, the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building was made possible by a foundational gift of $12 million from real estate investor and financier Ed Dowd, a 1972 SCU graduate and owner of EMD Properties, Inc. Dowd, who has a passion for collecting and sharing art that he feels has an ability to heal, unify, and transcend, previously funded a public-art project at the Mountain View campus of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. In 1993 Dowd was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a diagnosis he considers “one of the best things that ever happened to him” as it helped broaden his life’s focus. The necessity to trust more of his business to others offered the opportunity for Dowd to develop a love of art and a passion for philanthropy.
“It is gratifying to see this building come to fruition, a place where art will be created, studied, taught, and shared,” said Dowd via the SCU news release. “Art has played a powerful role in my life, and I am very pleased that this building will bring such important experiences to so many.”

Located near the University’s Louis B. Mayer Theatre, Fess Parker Studio Theatre, and Music and Dance Building is part of a major redesign of the northwest side of SCU’s campus. The building was designed by Form4 Architecture led by its Design Principal John Marx and constructed by Devcon Construction.

For more information, visit and

The Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building is located at 775 Franklin St., at Alviso St. with free parking in the structure on Benton St.

***Photos by Betsy Megas***

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


  1. Hey great post. I hope it’s ok that I shared it on my Twitter, if not, no issues just
    let me know and I’ll remove it. Either way keep up the great work.

Leave a Reply