The first dedicated performing arts center in Prince William County, Va., opened in May on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus. The 85,000-square-foot Hylton Performing Arts Center is a collaborative project between the county, Manassas, Va., the university, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and individuals and businesses. Officials expect the center to have a direct economic impact of nearly $7 million annually.
The nine-story-tall copper, glass and masonry building includes two performance venues. Modeled after European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,121-seat multipurpose proscenium theater that includes 27 boxes divided among three levels. The Gregory Family Theater is a 4,400-square-foot, 270-seat space that can be configured for different types of performances. And, to expand the community’s use of the facility, the Didlake Grand Foyer can be used for dinners and cocktail receptions, and its second floor is a visual arts gallery.
The center will be used by the university’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and is home to more than 10 local and regional arts groups, including the NOVA Manassas Symphony Orchestra and the Youth Orchestras of Prince William. New York-based Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Sterling, Va.-based Hughes Group Architects designed the facility. The county contributed 60 percent of the funding for the $46 million project, the university gave 30 percent and the rest came from Manassas, the state and private fundraising.