Plans for a New Cultural Hub at Yale Now Include a Director

Posted January 31, 2018 9:04 p.m. EST

The Schwarzman Center at Yale University — a new cultural hub established with a $150 million gift from the Wall Street financier Stephen A. Schwarzman in 2015 — is increasingly becoming a reality.

On Wednesday, the university announced that it has appointed an executive director for the center: Garth Ross, a producer and director who serves as the vice president of community engagement at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

“He’s extremely creative,” Schwarzman said, adding that, as the former Kennedy Center chairman, he was familiar with Ross’s work.

“The mandate is to put performances on on a regular basis for the Yale community as well as, to some extent, the public at large — not just once a month but with a steady stream of things that can be really interesting,” Schwarzman added.

The center, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and due to open in 2020, will present performances for people at Yale and the general public — from poetry readings to rock concerts. Located in the current freshman dining hall Commons (which will remain) and Memorial Hall, the center will also serve as a communal campus hub, with multiple gathering spaces, including a bistro and pub on the renovated basement level.

“The Schwarzman Center will certainly be a venue for incredibly creative programming, but we also want it to be a home away from home for all of our students,” said Peter Salovey, Yale’s president, “the place where they hang out, the place they go to when they have a free evening.”

Ross will start in April, after the current season at the Kennedy Center.

“Typically we think of culture as going to the theater a few times a year,” Ross said. “This is a completely different paradigm — imagining food and conversation as culture, as well as music, dance and theater.”