“Transformative encounters with truth and beauty, as communicated through the arts, are a treasure that the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center makes available to patrons from a remarkably diverse cross-section of the local and campus community.”
Since opening in September 2004, the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center has become an integral part of the University's vision and commitment to becoming a preeminent research university. It is the University's leading presenter of world-class artistic programming, one with an institutional focus on contemporary works. As an academic space, the center enhances the scholarship, teaching and practice of the performing and cinematic arts. As a community space, the center welcomes more than 100,000 patrons annually, including hundreds of K–12 students in education and related artistic programs. The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center embraces its role as a steward of the University's mission. Guided by goals aligned with Notre Dame's strategic plan, the center is focused on increasing its capacity to educate, enlighten and engage. Filling the very human needs for beauty, truth, and social connection, which happen through life-changing encounters with the performing and cinematic arts, is what animates the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center's activities within its community's arts ecosystem.
Beginning in 2007, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Presenting Series changed the curatorial focus to respond to the need for more dynamic arts education and community programs. Several weeks each season the Presenting Series links professional artists and their colleagues with the community. These engagements may be one day, one week or multiple weeks throughout the academic year. Creating space for dialogue, lighting a fire under learning, nurturing talent, and revealing the joy inherent to the practice of contemporary art is a crucial concern in planning each season's events, pre- and post-experiences and arts education programs. The Presenting Series is, at its heart, a call to civic engagement.
That civic engagement includes a growing program of commissioning and producing. The center has commissioned over 40 new works in every conceivable genre. This strategic, sustained effort funds the creation of new works and, on select Presenting Series world premieres, also provides workshop space, technical assistance, and artistic direction. Presenting Series commissions are either anchored by arts education engagements with campus and community or involve creative collaborations with Notre Dame faculty and students. Believing the artist's voice must be valued and heard in the 21st century, the center commissions to advance the careers of emerging artists, bolster the capacity of established artists, and support ambitious projects that will inform undergraduate education at Notre Dame and connect with diverse audiences around the world. Presenting Series commissions continue Notre Dame's tradition of innovation and boldness. The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center is where scholars, students, and community residents engage with the arts in new ways.
—Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President, University of Notre Dame
The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Browning Cinema represents the University’s foresight and deep commitment to the cinematic arts at Notre Dame. It is one of Indiana’s two dedicated cinema venues housed within a research university’s primary arts facility, and one of only four at leading institutions across Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. The center presents over 220 screenings annually. Screenings range from documentaries, foreign film, art house cinema, and classic films to National Theatre Live and The MET: Live in HD broadcasts. A classroom during the day, the Browning Cinema also offers campus and community six to eight screenings per week.
Balancing contemporary and classic cinema, screenings celebrate a canon of great films and filmmakers. Programming approaches this canon understanding it is subject to periodic change and Browning programs give filmgoers the chance to gain a deeper knowledge of film history. Presentations of major film retrospectives include "Martin Scorsese presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema," "The Great Wars on Film" for the centennial anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, and "Kurosawa at 100" as well as those of French comic master Pierre Étaix and Hayao Miyazaki of Japan's famed Studio Ghibli animation house. Frequent collaborations with campus and community yield the Screenpeace and Nanovic Institute film series, explorations of the complex challenges of cancer, and themes relevant to Africana, Asian, gender and disability studies. Visiting filmmakers are a hallmark of Browning Cinema programming and facilitate deeper learning and cultural understanding. Emilio Estevez, Sterlin Harjo, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Notre Dame Emeritus Professor Jill Godmilow, and Notre Dame alumni Jian Yi, Greg Kohs and Gita Pullapilly have come to screen their films and talk with Browning Cinema audiences.
With its high-profile location across from Eddy Street Commons,
the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center is truly a gateway to the Arts at Notre Dame.