Located in the heart of the Georgia Tech campus, the Ferst Center for the Arts opened in 1992 as a brilliant showcase for the presentation of concerts, lectures, dance, film, and theater. The facility houses an auditorium of 1,159 seats and features a proscenium stage, orchestra pit, and theatrical lighting and sound systems. Filled with activity year-round, it is designed to provide a wealth of diverse and enriching opportunities for both Georgia Tech and the greater Atlanta community.
The Office of the Arts presents an outstanding season of professional music, dance, and theater performances from September to April. Dance programming usually features contemporary and cultural dance forms, and the wide selection of musical genres includes jazz, folk, classical, and pop music. The Georgia Tech School of Music performs several concerts at the Ferst Center throughout the year. DramaTech, the student theatre group, performs in the James E. Dull Theatre in the Ferst Center. The Ferst Center is available for rental, and performances by student and community organizations are often available to the public. Tickets to all events at the Ferst Center are sold through the Ferst Center Box Office at 404-894-9600.
The idea for the Center became a reality when the Callaway Foundation donated $3.75 million of the $7.5 million needed for a new three-building project on campus and successfully challenged the State of Georgia to match the donation. The Center officially opened its doors on Monday, April 13, 1992, with a dedication performance by world-renowned pianist Andre Watts. Originally named the Georgia Tech Theatre for the Arts, the Center was renamed in memory of alumnus Robert Ferst, a man who gave his time, talents, financial support, and heart to his alma mater.
Through the generosity of the Richards and Westbrook families, the Ferst Center hosts not only the best in performing arts, but visual arts as well in the Richards and Westbrook Galleries. Presenting a broad spectrum of artists, the Galleries usually feature work by Georgia artists, and often this work combines fine art and technology.
In addition to the internationally-known artists who have appeared on stage over the years, notable speakers and events have included the televised 1992 Vice-Presidential Debate and the Secretaries of Defense roundtable. During the 1996 Olympic Games, the Ferst Center enjoyed a visit from President Clinton while playing host to the world as part of the 1996 Olympic Village.
In 2012, Georgia Tech created the Office of the Arts with the responsibility of managing the Ferst Center, its professional artist series, artist residencies, and other related programming. The Office of the Arts serves as the administrative arm of Georgia Tech’s strategic arts initiatives, advocating for, promoting, and facilitating the execution of on-campus arts activities as well as community partnerships.