Colby College Trustee Emeritus Paul J. Schupf, LL.D. ’06 has made another remarkable gift to the College, this time to support the construction of downtown Waterville’s arts center, which will bring vibrancy to the core of Main Street and be a major contributor toward establishing the city as a destination for the arts.
This gift launches the project into its next phase—a more detailed design process that will lead to a beautiful new space for Waterville residents and visitors. Colby and Waterville Creates! will resume design with confidence in their ability to reach the $18-million fundraising goal and redevelop 93 Main Street into a distinctive hub for visual arts, performing arts, arts education, and film for children and adults.
In honor of Mr. Schupf’s generosity, the building will be named the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.
“Our collective efforts to bring new life to Main Street have moved from conceptual to tangible,” said Colby President David A. Greene. “Downtown is visibly more vibrant than it was just a few years ago, and Paul Schupf’s incredible gift adds to this momentum, making possible a leading center for the arts at Main Street’s core that will be a catalyst for the city’s cultural and economic expansion. I am so grateful to Paul, long an expert on and benefactor to the arts, who made Colby his adopted home and the future of Waterville his passion.”
The Paul J. Schupf Art Center will be at the heart of downtown activity and tie into the redesign of Castonguay Square to create a lively outdoor space for complementary programs and activities. The preliminary design, created by an architectural team of Susan T. Rodriguez of New York City and OPAL of Belfast, Maine, includes a contemporary gallery of the Colby College Museum of Art on the ground level; three screening rooms to bring the Maine Film Center, Railroad Square Cinema, and the Maine International Film Festival to downtown; Common Street Arts gallery; and multidisciplinary educational spaces. The concept for the 32,000-square-foot building carefully preserves the building’s historical façade while creating a Main Street presence for the Waterville Opera House.
“This project will strengthen the arts and cultural institutions that have enriched our community for decades and have a tremendous economic impact on the city,” said Shannon Haines, president and CEO of Waterville Creates! “By bringing a diverse mix of arts programming together in one beautiful, modern facility, we will enliven downtown during the day and in the evening hours as well. We are so thankful for Mr. Schupf’s investment in Waterville’s future.”
Schupf, an emeritus member of the Board of Governors at the Colby College Museum of Art, has been a generous supporter of Colby over many decades.
“I find it invigorating to see plans for Main Street taking shape, particularly the efforts to create an arts and cultural renaissance downtown,” said Schupf. “Colby’s unique culture and innovative spirit are making a lasting impact on Waterville, bringing new sources of economic growth to the region.”
Schupf has been one of Colby’s greatest supporters since being introduced to Colby through the Colby College Museum of Art in 1985. His contributions include naming gifts for the Paul J. Schupf Scientific Computing Center, the Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz, the Paul J. Schupf Sculpture Court at the Colby museum. He was also the lead donor for the Anthony-Mitchell-Schupf residence hall, and, most recently, he created the Paul J. Schupf Colby College/Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Internship and named the Lorey/Schupf Handbell Choir. A serious art collector, Schupf has also donated numerous works to the Colby museum by artists Alex Katz, Richard Serra, Edward Ruscha, Christo, and many others.
“Paul Schupf’s generosity toward the Colby College Museum of Art has been transformational,” said Director and Chief Curator Sharon Corwin. “And now, he is doing for Waterville what he did for Colby—making possible an exceptional art experience for all. For decades he has supported the arts at Colby, and now his vision extends to the region. He is a dear friend, and we are forever grateful to him.”
“The people at Colby are great to work with,” said Schupf. “Dan Lugo in advancement was instrumental in this process, Provost Margaret McFadden, CFO Doug Terp—and of course President David Greene—make giving to Colby exciting and great fun.”
Waterville Creates! promotes, supports, and grows the community’s arts and cultural assets in order to strengthen Waterville as a vibrant creative center, increase access to creative opportunities for residents and visitors, and advance community and economic development goals. It serves as the primary coordinating entity for arts and cultural programming in Waterville by working directly with the Colby College Museum of Art, Maine Film Center, Waterville Public Library, Waterville Opera House, and Common Street Arts to strengthen partnerships, expand collaborative programming, and launch new marketing initiatives.