WCU board endorses sales of beer, wine in Fine and Performing Arts Center

Patrons of Western Carolina University’s new Fine and Performing Arts Center soon may have the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine during intermission of upcoming performances or during receptions for art exhibitions.

That’s because the university’s board of trustees approved an amendment to the campus alcohol policy allowing the sale of beer and wine for selected events in the fine arts building. The vote came as part of the board’s quarterly meeting Friday, Sept. 1.

The new policy is based on an amendment made last year to state alcoholic beverage laws by the N.C. General Assembly that allows constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina system to sell beer and wine at performing arts centers. The law specifically defines a performing arts center as a venue of 2,000 seats or fewer built or used primarily for performances in the arts – including music, theater, film, performance art and recitation.

Western’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, a $30 million, 122,000-square-foot showcase for the arts, opened last year. The facility features a 1,000-seat performance hall capable of hosting Broadway-caliber productions and 10,000 square feet of gallery and atrium exhibition space for the fine arts.

Under the policy approved by WCU’s board, the university’s food service contractor will be authorized to sell beer and wine at selected events in the Fine and Performing Arts Center and will be required to adhere to all rules and regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages. The sale of beer and wine will begin no sooner than one hour prior to the published starting time of the event and during intermissions. No beverages of any kind are allowed in the performance hall.