After rumors spread that it wouldn’t renew a lease for its popular downtown space, the University of North Texas instead has announced that it will renew the lease for a reimagined UNT on the Square in October.
For 10 years, UNT on the Square has been a busy art gallery and performing arts venue. Until 2017, the space also was the headquarters of the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, a university center that offers fellowships to faculty and artist residencies to writers, artists, filmmakers and musicians. The venue occupies a high-profile location on the Elm Street side of the Square.
In a statement from the university, officials said operations of the downtown venue will shift from the UNT Division of Student Affairs to UNT Academic Affairs around Halloween.
“The top-ranked College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism is working with Academic Affairs to re-imagine UNT on the Square as a vibrant learning laboratory to further enhance our student experience,” the statement said. “This venture will give them unique opportunities that set their education apart while also allowing UNT to continue to host a space on the Square where we can engage with our Denton community.”
The Denton Record-Chronicle received a number of email tips about the space not renewing the lease sometime in the fall.
Since its founding, the downtown gallery and venue has partnered with the Denton Black Film Festival, Thin Line Fest and 35 Denton music festival. The venue also played a part in a number of local events, such as the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival and others.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our students and faculty. Our College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism offers top-ranked programs that will contribute to the re-imagining of how we use our space on the Denton Square to provide our students with authentic and engaging learning opportunities that differentiate our university from others,” UNT Provost Jennifer Cowley said in a written statement. “UNT has long been a proud member of the Denton community since our founding on the Square. We continue to be excited about this space and our UNT presence downtown, and we are looking forward to better engaging with our community.”