Idyllwild Arts Foundation Will Celebrate 70th Anniversary

Idyllwild Arts Foundation, 70th Anniversary Idyllwild Arts Foundation, 70th Anniversary Idyllwild Arts Foundation, 70th Anniversary Idyllwild Arts Foundation, 70th Anniversary


4:40 pm | September 26, 2016

Idyllwild Arts Foundation, in honor of its 70 th Anniversary milestone,continued to celebrate its seven decades of “Changing Lives Through the Transformative Power of Art” with the Grand Opening of the William M. Lowman Concert Hall. Over 300 valued donors, alumni,board members, friends, and community members were on hand to celebrate the opening of this $ 6.4 million dollar Concert Hall, which is now the centerpiece of this acclaimed arts institution.

Since 1996, Idyllwild Arts Foundation recognized the need for a modern performance space which would not only complement the beloved but outdated IAF Theatre, but would give a clear indication to audiences of the school’s vision and future as it approached the new millennium. “Tonight’s event marks a new chapter for the Idyllwild Arts Foundation and the continuing fulfillment of its mission,” stated President and Head of School, Pamela Jordan. “This new hall, with its world-class acoustics and performance stage 60% larger than any other campus venue, opens up exciting new opportunities for our students. This space makes our campus worthy of the incredible talent of our students and faculty. On behalf of our board, our faculty, staff, and the students who benefit from this new space, I am enormously grateful to our many loyal donors who made this hall possible. Your generosity turned our collective dream into a reality. We have looked forward to this special evening, which propels us into our next 70 years and helps us change lives through the transformative power of art,” Jordan continued.

William M. Lowman’s towering contributions to the success of Idyllwild Arts deserve a monument, and now he has one in the form of this new Concert Hall. Bill Lowman arrived on campus with his wife Carolyn in 1985, and was immediately faced with a deteriorating summer program, deficit budgets, and cancellation of some classes due to lack of enrollment. He ultimately revitalized the summer offerings, but knew he had to make some other tough decisions. Working with Buzz Holmes, and Dr. Richard MacNeal, Bill convinced the Board to take an even more courageous step and form a high school arts academy. This turned out to be harder than anyone would have imagined, but before the end of the decade, Bill presided over the only fully-accredited independent boarding high school for the arts in the west. Students came from the U.S. and from all parts of the world. Today, Idyllwild’s student body boasts over 300 students representing 30 countries.
The new William M. Lowman Concert Hall, which seats 298, was designed by award-winning Architect Whitney Sander of Los Angeles, and acoustically engineered by ARUP North America, world famous for its spectacular design of the Sydney Opera House. ARUP engineers designed the hall to be acoustically brilliant, with its acoustical qualities being inspired by some of the most renowned halls in the world. The scale and acoustical properties are equivalent to the Musikverein in Vienna. In all stages of development , Idyllwild Arts made the acoustics its first priority.

This 8,000 square foot gem in the heart of the Idyllwild Arts Academy campus, is sheathed in 67 thousand pounds of rusted corten steel panels that blend with the cedar siding of surrounding campus buildings. The jagged topography of the steel evokes the mountain landscape of Idyllwild, while the silhouette of the building represents an artist’s conception of the musical score “Xtal” by Richard James. The shape of this building also resembles Tahquitz Rock, which it faces to the east.

The interior finish includes hundreds of kiln dried Douglas fir beams that are designed to appropriate the densely wooded forests of the San Jacinto Mountains. 80 wooden “ribs” are hung vertically along each side of the hall and connect across the ceiling in a saw tooth pattern, each beam placed at specific and varying angles that are not only aesthetically captivating but contribute to the finest acoustic effect. Being 60% larger, this new Hall is able to simultaneously accommodate a full symphony orchestra and chorus, as well as jazz concerts and chamber music performances.

About the Idyllwild Arts Foundation

In 1946, Idyllwild Arts Foundation carved out its niche in the world and began fulfilling its mission, “Changing Lives Through the Transformative Power of Art.” Today, 70 years later, Idyllwild Arts has become home to generations of global artists who have been inspired to make a difference in the world.

In addition to its nationally-acclaimed “Jazz in the Pines,” Idyllwild Arts offers two dynamic programs consisting of The Idyllwild Wrts Academy and The Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. For more information, please call Idyllwild Arts at (951) 659- 2171 or visit