Auditorium and Fairchild Theatre

Location: East Lansing, MI, USA


History: In 1938 the Public Works Administration allocated more than $500,000 toward the final cost of $1,025,000 for an auditorium to accommodate the academic and cultural activities of the growing MSU student body. Designed by O.J. Munson, the Auditorium was originally used as a large meeting space for faculty and students.

Architecture: The historic Auditorium is a Collegiate Gothic Building with three identical entryways with spandrels adorning images of comedy, tragedy musical instruments, and vines. Above each entryway is Gothic tracery. Inside the lobby, oak paneling, chandeliers, black and white marble floorings and three murals by Charles Pollock, Jackson Pollock’s brother.

Irving Taran, an artist and former faculty member of MSU, credits this Mural as his Favorite spot on campus. He is noted in saying, "A very favorite and special place for me is the Charles Pollock mural in the Auditorium entry space. (Farm Lane entrance). You can view the three section mural from the entry level or take the staircase upstairs and sit on the bench and view the mural directly across the entry space at eye level. While my daughter Amy attended MSU, (Honors College and English) we used to meet often on the second floor balcony of the Auditorium, sit on a bench and eat our lunch! What a joy! From that perch you are afforded the opportunity to look directly at the mural, not having to crane your neck, as you do at floor level. The head and face structures of the male figures remind me greatly of Charles himself. I have always thought that he looked in the mirror as he painted this piece. In his years at MSU he became an abstract painter, grouped in a genre referred to as Color Field Painting. I too came to be grouped under the rubric of Color Field Painters, quite happily I might add!"

Departments: The Auditorium houses the Department of Theatre.

Fun Fact: In 1996, Bob Dylan performed at the Auditorium and for his encore performance he invited members from the crowd up on stage to help him sing.

Order: Stop 5

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