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CNU's Torggler Fine Arts Center nears grand opening

The fine arts center was a $60 million, 83,000 square-foot project. All art exhibits there will be free and open to the public.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Author's note: the video above is on file from Sept. 24, 2021.

Storms brewing over the mountaintops, still nightscapes, plants swaying in the wind and silk sculptures that evoke flowers.

That will all be at the grand opening of Christopher Newport University's new building, the Mary J. Torggler Fine Arts Center. 

The fine arts center was a $60 million, 83,000 square-foot project. Its construction was funded by money from the state of Virginia.

It's got three glass domes, several galleries, an auditorium and enough classrooms for the Department of Fine Art and Art History. CNU is also planning to host some public workshops and camps there.

The university has been working on building the fine arts center since the summer of 2018, and the work culminates in this late-October grand opening.

The Night Light exhibition will be free and open to the public starting at 1 p.m. on Oct. 31 through May 15, 2022.

You can find this first exhibition in the Anne Noland Edwards gallery, which was made to host professional exhibitions "with national and international reputations."

The first cast of artists fits the bill. People from Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Israel and Rome contributed to the show about "nature through the lens of technology and the innovative use of light."

Jim Hanchett, a spokesperson from CNU, said this will be a place people can enjoy art for years to come. He said all exhibitions at the Torggler will be free to the public.

Holly Koons, the Torggler’s executive director, said the experience will start the moment people step through the new building's doors.

"The Torggler is dedicated to bringing exceptional visual art to our community and enriching our cultural landscape," she said. "Our inaugural exhibitions will inspire and engage visitors of diverse ages and backgrounds."

Its hours will be Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Guests can park in the visitor lot in front of Trible Library.