Students flock to Woodruff Center

Over 600 students took advantage of the year’s last Tech Night at the Woodruff last Thursday, Feb. 16.

“Visiting the art exhibits was really refreshing,” said Dale Avery, a second-year CmpE major. “It was nice to have the chance to do something new with friends.”

Tech Nights at the Woodruff are a component of the Tech-Woodruff partnership, which began two years ago with the intention of broadening students’ exposure to the arts.

Students who attend a Tech Night at the Woodruff have complete access to all of the High Museum’s permanent galleries and special exhibitions. They are also able to attend a performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra or the Alliance Theatre.

Student groups also perform throughout the night. Participating student arts groups include the Tech Band and Nothin’ But Treble. The Ramblin’ Reck Club also brought along the iconic car for display in the Arts Center piazza.

The Tech Night at the Woodruff is a part of a broader partnership between the Institute and the Center. Three Tech Nights are scheduled each academic year, where students are treated to hors d’oeuvres, beverages and free admissions. The second major component of the partnership allows students to purchase a pass to reserve a museum ticket or seat at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra or Alliance Theatre, 48 hours before show time, free of charge. They may also purchase a companion ticket at a significantly subsidized rate.

“The Tech and Woodruff Arts Center partnership is awesome,” said Gareth Guvanasen, Graduate Representative for Woodruff Arts Center Programming and a fourth-year ECE PhD student. “The pass gives students an opportunity to appreciate art far more cheaply than they could otherwise.”

The pass costs students $20, and it is valid for one academic year.

The Institute pays a fee to facilitate the pass partnership. SGA contributes $15,000 of student activity funds, the Office of the President contributes $15,000 and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs contributes another $10,000, totaling an Institute contribution of $40,000 to finance the partnership.

About 1,000 passes have been sold this year, and attendance rates have steadily risen.

“We have seen the number of students taking advantage of the pass increase this school year. I anticipate this number to continue to grow as more students hear about the opportunities the program offers,” said Elle Creel, Undergraduate Student Body President. “The partnership with Woodruff Arts Center has been an incredible addition to student life at Tech. It provides a low-cost way for every Tech student to experience the wealth of art offerings in Atlanta.”

The partnership has likewise pleased leadership at the Woodruff Center for the Arts. “This was all about finding ways to bring two significant Midtown institutions together,” said Joe Bankoff, President and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center. “This is a meaningful way to work towards the strategic plans of both our institutions.”

Bankoff hopes that weekend transportation can be extended beyond the grocery store and onto the Woodruff Center to help facilitate safe and convenient transportation to performances for students. Creel has also expressed interest in transportation to the Center, but noted the issues of funding and logistical concerns.

“I’m really looking to student leadership to decide,” Bankoff said. “Students know best what will work for them.”

Efforts to connect students with the arts go beyond the pass and arts night initiatives.

“I’m aware of many artistic innovations and programs at Tech. We can use the Woodruff Center as a single location to showcase Tech’s talent, as well as the world-class visual, dramatic, and musical arts that Atlanta has to offer,” Bankoff, who is involved in several administrative roles at the Institute, said.