This rendering distributed by the University of Southern Maine shows what a proposed Center for the Arts might look like at the school's Portland campus. The university announced a $1 million gift Thursday that will help fund the early stages of the project. Credit: Courtesy of the University of Southern Maine

University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings announced Thursday the school is receiving a $1 million donation to help fund its ambitions for a new performing arts center on the Portland campus.

“This generous gift enables USM to take the next step toward realizing our dream of building a new Center for the Arts at USM in Portland,” said Cummings in a statement. “The time has come to create a visual and performing arts facility on our Portland campus that showcases the exceptional talents of our students and faculty, and opens the door to wider arts and cultural engagement in Maine and beyond.”

[Map collection worth an estimated $100M donated to Maine university]

The facility would feature a 1,000 seat concert hall, a recital hall, black box theater and art gallery, according to a university news release, which described the project as “transformational” for the campus. The release also noted that the donor wishes to remain anonymous.

The $1 million contribution will “position USM to begin the selection process for an architectural/engineering team to design the new facility,” the university’s release states, in part.

Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor Tony Shalhoub, perhaps best known for his roles on the 1990s NBC sitcom “Wings” and subsequent USA network drama “Monk,” is a USM alumnus serving as the honorary chairman of the Center for the Arts Leadership Committee.

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Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.