The UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts in the former Star Store building is celebrating 20 years in Downtown New Bedford.

Dean Lawrence Jenkins says the college has joined with other partners in bringing positive change to the downtown. "The Star Store was not the only, but certainly one of the striving forces in the revitalization of the downtown."

State Senator Mark Montigny and other members of the delegation helped push through legislation funding renovations to the Star Store building to house the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Since then, the college has joined with other partners in the downtown to create a strong cultural community within the city.

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Dean Jenkins tells WBSM News, he expects the mission of the college to change somewhat in the next 20 years. "I think we'll see a shift away from some of the heavier studio arts and applied studio arts toward design. There are enormous opportunities for design in the very broadest sense across the southcoast", said Jenkins.

Dean Jenkins said the College of Visual and Performing Arts will likely offer more programs dealing with design, like architecture, animation, fashion and game art. He says the college will likely play a major role in helping new bedford become a regional design hub.

The contributions of the CVPA were recognized Thursday evening during this month's AHA celebration.