College of Visual and Performing Arts
George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Director’s Corner

September 27, 2019

Rick Davis

Rick Davis is the Executive Director of the Hylton Center.

The Hylton Center will be celebrating a lot this season, because there’s so much to celebrate. We’re marking our 10th season of presenting and hosting and nurturing the performing and visual arts. (Stay tuned for official 10th anniversary celebrations in 2020!) Sometime this season we’ll welcome our millionth visitor (sorry, we don’t know precisely when or whom!) – think of it – a million people whose lives have been affected, some just a little, some profoundly, and almost always for the better – by their encounter with music, dance, theater, fine art, ideas, food, writers, classmates, families, co-workers, fiancées, financiers, political and civic leaders, teachers, and most of all, a deeper sense of their place in this growing, changing, thriving community. 

And that gives me a chance to repeat the four-word phrase that all who have heard me speak or read my musings over the last few years have (I hope) memorized: The Arts Create Community. That’s our mission, our motto, our practice, our core value, and the world’s shortest elevator speech.  But think of it: this community has built an institution unlike any other, through a partnership so distinctive that it has been studied, written about, and imitated, precisely in order to create a better, livelier, more engaged version of itself.  That is truly something to celebrate, and not just in an anniversary year. 

If you ever need a cross-check on the value of what we’ve built together, just indulge in a little thought experiment. Imagine life without the programs and opportunities that the Hylton Center makes possible. Imagine what the 18,000 students from Prince William County, Manassas City, Manassas Park and beyond who attend performances at the Hylton would be missing.  Imagine the void in the lives of our region’s Veterans who have found each other and created a community through the Veterans and the Arts Initiative.  Imagine a world without ready access to great music (and a superior venue to hear that music) and theater and dance from around the world and across the street.  Imagine a million conversations that didn’t happen because the occasion for them was not there. Don’t worry – we’re not going anywhere – but the exercise, I think, makes the case all over again for the success and impact of this great and good place. 

With best wishes and much gratitude for the support of this wonderful community,

Rick Davis

Dean and Executive Director

Schools & Programs