The Monttessuy Center for the Arts

A Renaissance for the Arts at AUP

The American University of Paris is thrilled to announce the next exciting stage in our campus redevelopment plan: The Monttessuy Center for the Arts. As the library moves into its new home in the recently completed Quai d’Orsay Learning Commons, the University will repurpose its former location on the rue de Monttessuy as a hub for artistic life on campus, bringing students and faculty together through creative pursuits in a state-of-the-art teaching facility – complete with AUP’s first auditorium.

In late Summer 2018, just days before AUP was to cede the long-term lease it has held on the Monttessuy building since the late ’70s, AUP leadership and the Board of Trustees made the decision to keep the building, to renew our long association with the American Library in Paris and to open The Monttessuy Center for the Arts. The launch of a Fine Arts major in 2014–15, plus renewed student interest in studying art history in Paris, made for rapid growth of these majors – a collective 270% increase over the past five years.

The time has come to help AUP – ever ascending – to secure the space and services that will give wings to its Department of Art History and Fine Arts, creating dedicated space for the arts on its campus and, in the process, its first-ever purpose-built auditorium.

Celeste M. Schenck President

As art history once again takes a historic place in AUP’s modern curriculum, and fine arts fills an important place in our students’ liberal arts trajectory, faculty need new, better and expanded studio spaces, storage space for materials and office space in which to receive students and conduct their research. The technology for teaching art history has evolved significantly; students and faculty are both pressing for better-equipped classrooms.

In short, the moment has come to open a space dedicated to these disciplines at AUP, complete with wall space for exhibiting student art, two major art studios with high ceilings and natural light, and a 70-person multi-purpose auditorium that could as easily house an art history lecture as a musical or theatrical performance.

 

The Department of Art History and Fine Arts Comes Home

As we look toward the renovation of The Monttessuy Center for the Arts, we are deeply aware that this move is a homecoming for the Department of Art History and Fine Arts. In the late ’70s, art history classes took place in two classrooms in Monttessuy, where high ceilings could accommodate images from the slide projectors of the day. Sidestepping a move to the Grenelle basement, the department had its next home – along with the infamous top-floor slide room – in Bosquet from 1992 until we sold the building in 2012, during which time the department’s faculty relinquished the projectors in favor of PowerPoint and other modern technologies.

I had the opportunity to tour new and renovated buildings on AUP’s campus during the ’90s alumni reunion in May 2018. Seeing what a difference these well-equipped facilities make to student life reaffirmed for me the importance of supporting such projects.

Roxanne Collins Vanderbilt ’95

The creation of the Pierre and Christina de Labouchere ’86 Art Studio during the 2014 renovation of the Combes Student Life Center, along with the grouping of art history faculty offices and classrooms in that building, brought the arts at AUP back together again, launching the resurgence of student interest in both programs and making the creation of a dedicated facility for the arts essential.

 

Raising the Roof on The Monttessuy Center for the Arts

An education in the arts, especially in a global institution, teaches the most universal of languages in a world of differences. Will you help make the study of art history and fine arts a part of each student’s AUP education? Will you help us achieve this next milestone in the full renovation of the AUP campus? We invite you to join us at this special moment in AUP history by considering a gift to The Monttessuy Center for the Arts.