James Turrell, “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace at Rice University. Photo: Florian Holzherr

Celebrating the Arts at Rice University

The Office of the President

The arts are an essential component of a 21st century education. They are a major part of human culture and help foster creativity and imagination in those engaged in all of endeavors. At Rice, our commitment to the arts and creativity dates back to the founding of the university. Our original 1891 charter envisioned the “William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art,” and our academic seal contains just three words: letters, science and art.  As Rice has grown over the last century into an internationally renowned research university, our commitment to excellence and impact has expanded to include a diverse range of disciplines. The arts at Rice are today an integral and central part of our mission and play a crucial role in our teaching, our research, and our public programs.

Rice’s top ranked School of Architecture and Shepherd School of Music are global leaders in their fields with award-winning faculty and graduates. Rice’s public art program features the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace together with important works by Michael Heizer, Jaume Plensa, Leo Villareal, and others. The Art History department launched a PhD program in 2008 and the department of Visual and Dramatic Arts continues to foster student creativity through its extraordinary classes, programs and performances. This past year we opened the innovative Moody Center for the Arts with its focus on trans-disciplinary collaboration. We have broken ground on a spectacular new building for music and the performing arts with a 600-seat opera theater, which we expect to open in 2020. 

It is truly an exciting time at Rice for the arts, which are now firmly established as a vibrant and vital part of our university.  We hope you will join us in partaking in all that Rice has to offer, and help the arts at Rice flourish in the years ahead.



David W. Leebron
Rice University