Located in the heart of the Georgia Tech campus, the Ferst Center for the Arts serves as a showcase for the presentation of concerts, lectures, dance, film, and theater. 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.
Georgia Tech Arts operates the Ferst Center and presents the Professional Performance Series of music, dance, theater, and multi-media performances from September through April. The Georgia Tech School of Music performs multiple concerts at the Ferst Center throughout the year, and DramaTech, the student theater group, performs in the James E. Dull Theatre at the Ferst Center as well. The Ferst Center is available for rent, and performances by student and community organizations are often open to the public. View all of the events at the Ferst Center. Tickets to these events at the Ferst Center are sold through the Box Office at 404-894-9600 or online.
- Ferst Center Seating: 869 fixed, 100 temporary
- Ferst Center Stage: Proscenium with orchestra pit
- Theatrical lighting and sound systems
The idea for the Ferst Center became a reality when the Callaway Foundation donated $3.75 million (of the $7.5 million total) for a new three-building project on campus and successfully challenged the State of Georgia to match the donation. The Center officially opened on 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.
The Guthman, Richards, and Westbrook families also gave generous gifts to ensure that the Ferst Center would be a place for enjoying and learning about both performing and visual arts. Since its early years, the Ferst Center has hosted performances that range from student talent shows to internationally renowned artists, and it has served as the stage home for local performing arts groups including the Atlanta Lyric Theatre and Ballethnic Dance Company. Physical improvements over the years have included audio and lighting enhancements and the addition of space for more wheelchair seating.
In 2012, the campus established the Office of the Arts, now called Georgia Tech Arts, with an enhanced mission of serving the arts at Georgia Tech in new ways: supporting students involved in artistic activity, communicating the art/science/technology research, and academic projects already underway on campus, and helping with the collaboration and development of new arts programs to serve both campus and community. The Georgia Tech Arts Advisory Board and the Council for the Arts were developed and Madison Cario joined the staff in 2014 as director. The current director, Dr. Aaron Shackelford, joined Georgia Tech Arts in the summer of 2019.
In 2016, the lobby of the Ferst Center received a major renovation that improved the space for use by students year-round and made it a more inviting space for lectures, meetings, receptions, and gatherings before and after performances. The Ferst Center theater underwent a major renovation in 2018, which included all new seating, an improved seating configuration, additional accessible seating areas, a wheelchair lift, and new paint, carpeting, and aisle lighting.