Wharton Center reveals new look
Thirty-five years ago, Michigan State University’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts opened its doors. Today, Wharton Center — known for presenting the best touring Broadway shows and performing arts attractions — has become a vibrant hub of engagement and education.
To express the expanding and meaningful role Wharton Center plays in the community, the center is unveiling a refreshed visual expression of its mission and new statement of purpose.
The new brand expression builds on Wharton Center’s powerful legacy and creates a modern look and feel. The center will continue its quality programming, connecting with the communities it serves.
A key element of the brand makeover is a fresh symbol, which has a naturally occurring, impactful visual statement: ART at the Center.
“We are excited to unveil a new visual identity,” said Mike Brand, executive director. “It really says what we are all about – art is at the center of everything we do. However, this brand refresh is much more than just a new logo. There’s creative spirit in every single person who attends Wharton Center. Through programming, education and community outreach we connect that energy, share stories of inspiration and strive to create a sense of place that allows us all to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. Our brand statements now incorporate that philosophy.”
Within the last few years, Brand, Wharton Center’s Advisory Council, volunteers and staff started looking more closely at the center’s mission and branding. It was determined that Wharton Center was doing all the right things, but could be doing them better. At the same time, the community was not fully aware of the plethora of education, engagement and outreach opportunities Wharton Center provides.
As these conversations were happening, MSU alumnus and Wharton Center donor Eloy Trevino was establishing an endowment fund for the center. At the time, Trevino was a partner at Prophet, a leading global consultancy. At his urging, Wharton Center applied for and received a tremendous in-kind gift of rebranding from Prophet.
“Wharton Center is a real treasure for the university and community,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “We applaud not only the great performances that nourish the soul and challenge the mind, but also Wharton’s outreach across the state that inspires and makes performing arts accessible for all ages.”
The new branding will influence all aspects of how Wharton Center presents itself — including the Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity supported by MSU Federal Credit Union — from patron communications to the website to publications and advertising.