Jesuit High School celebrated a special ceremony on Friday (Sept. 2) for the blessing and dedication of the cornerstone of the school's spectacular new Antinori Center for the Arts.
The beautiful event was attended by about 100 guests, including faculty and supporters, among them the arts center's namesake, Ron Antinori '60. It was a $2 million capital gift to Jesuit from Antinori and his wife, Susan Antinori, that made the gorgeous, 32,000-square foot arts center possible.
Jesuit's art department head, Kevin Ball '03, director of development, Nick Suszynski '98, and president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J., spoke at the ceremony about the extraordinary impact the arts center will have on the school. Then representatives from The Beck Group set the cornerstone in place, and Father Hermes bestowed the blessing.
A year ago on Labor Day weekend, Jesuit held the groundbreaking ceremony for the Antinori Center for the Arts. The next ceremony will be the grand opening, which is planned for early 2023. The phenomenal new facility will serve the school's wonderful music, theatre, and fine arts programs, and will transform the arts at Jesuit, providing an elegant and worthy space for the abundance of talented and creative students and inspiring faculty – and position Jesuit as a leader in the arts the Tampa Bay area. The auditorium will be approximately 5,200 square feet, the lobby will be more than 2,100 square feet, and the black box theatre classroom 1,500 square feet. The theatre stage is more than 3,800 square feet.
In addition to Ron Antinori, guests included the Shembekar family (Dr. Anita Shembekar, Jackson Shembekar '21, Preston Shembekar '22, and Colin Shembekar '25), who generously donated $1 million toward the arts center. The 430-seat auditorium will be named in their honor. Gifts such as those from the Antinoris, Shembekars, and the Bailey family, who also generously gave $1 million toward the arts center and will have the 4,300 square foot music wing named in their honor, have helped Jesuit launch Phase II of the school's Campus Master Plan. Phase I included the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Gonzmart Hall, and Oliva Courtyard.
View below a video, and below that a photo slideshow, from the cornerstone ceremony for the Antinori Center for the Arts.