The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech joins an elite group of university-affiliated performing arts centers and programs, becoming one of the newest members of Major University Presenters (MUPs), a consortium created to support and advance the work of leading arts presenters at major research universities across the country.

The Moss Arts Center is one of only 21 institutions in the country on a roster of leading university arts presenters that includes the University of Illinois (Krannert Center for the Performing Arts), Penn State (Center for the Performing Arts), and Stanford University (StanfordLive! Program and Bing Concert Hall).

“Major University Presenters are benchmark institutions for us, the models that I looked to in the earliest days of developing the Moss Arts Center’s mission, vision, and programs. Commitment to students, learning, research, and community are hallmarks of MUP members’ programs, just as they are at the Moss,” said Ruth Waalkes, executive director of the Moss Arts Center and associate provost for the arts at Virginia Tech. “Collective efforts of the consortium have had a tremendous impact on the professional performing arts field in general and have redefined the role of arts centers on university campuses. I look forward to representing Virginia Tech and deepening the Moss Arts Center’s national impact.”

For more than 20 years, Major University Presenters has facilitated opportunities for its member organizations to share information for benchmarking and improving programs, participate in high-value collaborative opportunities, increase program recognition at local and national levels, engage in national research activities, and make positive, long-term impacts on the performing arts presenting field.

Opening in the fall of 2013, the Moss Arts Center launched Virginia Tech’s first-ever professional presenting arts program. Over the past nine seasons, the center has presented a wide breadth of performances and exhibitions across multiple genres with an emphasis on diverse cultures and voices, as well as provided opportunities for deeper arts experiences through residencies, commissions, and engagement opportunities.

“MUPs works to convene the leading voices in the university presenting world, so inviting the Moss Arts Center into the fold is natural,” said Brian Jose, director of University of Florida Performing Arts. “Virginia Tech’s presenting program is a vital part of both the academic life and community life of Blacksburg, and we want to have that important voice at the table. Together, we work to ensure a vibrant performance environment on all our member campuses.”

A view from the side of a stage shows actors and technicians sitting in chairs and looking at computer screens, rehearsing for a production. They are all backlit by various lights hanging from the ceiling and a glowing square against a black wall.
Student engagement is a priority for the Moss Arts Center, which has a rich record of outreach work both on campus and beyond. Photo courtesy of Richard Mallory Allnutt.

The Moss Arts Center has a rich record of engagement both on campus and beyond, averaging more than 130 engagement activities or events each season, which includes class visits, workshops, artist talks, master classes, school matinees, gallery tours, outreach activities in schools, and more.

Student engagement is a priority, and the center consistently maintains a high percentage of Virginia Tech student attendance for its events (28 percent for its 2021-22 season) compared to other university presenters, demonstrating strong campus partnerships that encourage student participation.

The Major University Presenters consortium is an informal network founded in the spirit of mutual support and cooperation in 2002 by Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU Gammage, Arizona State University; Mike Ross, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Ken Fischer, University Musical Society, University of Michigan. The consortium’s purpose is for participating organizations to more effectively align with the education, research, and public engagement missions of their universities.

Discover more about the diverse range of performances, exhibitions, and experiences currently available for community members and students of all ages on the Moss Arts Center’s website.

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