The center opened in 1997 as the home to the Lehigh University Music Department, the Department of Theatre, the Art Galleries and the Guest Artist Series, all of which share the same professional technical, marketing and administrative staff, venues and equipment.
The building, designed by Philadelphia architects Dagit Saylor, houses three theatres: the 1,000-seat proscenium Baker Hall, the 300-seat Diamond Theater, a 125-seat black box theatre, as well as a two-story art gallery, state-of-the-art recording studio, and several large classrooms.
In the 2014-15 season/academic year, the center held 172 events, including 81 campus and community rentals, lectures, business meetings, convocations, conventions, and special events. In total, the center provided service to over 55,000 people in eastern Pennsylvania, and western New Jersey.
Their distinguished Guest Artist Series has presented a wide array of multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural performers, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Garrison Keillor, Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Lily Tomlin, Tony Bennett, Ani DiFranco, Momix, and David Parsons Dance.
Some of their annual events include longstanding Bethlehem community relationships with the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and Touchstone Theater’s Young Playwrights Festival. Campus events presented at the center have included lectures with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Janet Reno, Sally Ride, Salman Rushdie, and Benazir Bhutto.
The center has also created and commissioned works from professional, world-renowned artists in collaboration with our resident faculty, that are performed worldwide, carrying the name of Lehigh University wherever they are restaged.
The center provide a welcoming environment for school children to experience live arts. In our 19 years, we have served over 100 schools and community groups, and more than 70,000 children in the surrounding counties.
Joey Vega's AmeRican My Life Aqui y Alla wil be performed in Baker Hall is an acoustically superior 1,014-seat performance hall, suitable for concerts, stage productions, ceremonies, lectures and more. The stage can be modified to accommodate theatrical productions of different sizes and types, shifting from "theatrical" with a bare stage to "concert" with an orchestra shell that creates outstanding acoustics within the hall. High-speed internet access is available.