Announcing the Catherine Houghton Arts Center

The White Mountain School is proud to announce the construction of a new arts facility on our Bethlehem, New Hampshire campus.
The White Mountain School is proud to announce the construction of a new arts facility on our Bethlehem, New Hampshire campus. With the Houghton family’s approval and appreciation, the arts center will be named in honor of Catherine “Kitty” Houghton ’60. On January 28, 2013 at the School’s winter Board of Trustees meetings, Kitty and the rest of the Board unanimously voted in favor of the new arts center and personally committed more than half the funding needed for its construction. Following Kitty’s sudden and tragic death, the Board voted unanimously to name the building the Catherine Houghton Arts Center. Creating this lasting tribute to Kitty’s memory provides some comfort to our School community as we try to make sense of this senseless tragedy.

Kitty’s lifelong appreciation of the arts, especially music, flourished during her time as a student at WMS, then St. Mary’s-in-the-Mountains, and she was a passionate advocate for the arts at her School. In 2012 she led and supported an effort to fund a new music position at the School that broadened and deepened the School’s arts programming and led to a revival of the wonderful choral tradition so important to her own experience. Her support helped the program grow and highlighted the need for the School to provide teaching space to better accommodate our students’ burgeoning interest in arts.

Chair of the board of trustees, Barbara McFadden Sirna ’63 offered the following, “Kitty’s last official act as a member of The White Mountain School’s Board of Trustees was to vote her whole-hearted approval for the construction of a new arts center at the School. Kitty’s leadership support of music at WMS was instrumental in the board’s decision to move ahead with this important project. I cannot think of a better way to honor Kitty than to ensure that the words and spirit of our School song, “Lift thine eyes, O lift thine eyes to the mountains…”, are sung as strongly today and in the future as they were then by Kitty and our fellow alumnae at St. Mary’s.”

We are pleased to be able to honor Kitty in this very tangible way and to be able to continue to advance our students’ arts education with a facility that will better support our excellent arts program. The Catherine Houghton Arts Center is being designed by award-winning Ruhl Walker Architects of Boston, Massachusetts and will include studio space for our growing programs in music, dance and visual arts. For the last several years, WMS has worked hard to emphasize energy efficiency and sustainable builidng practices when undergoing new construction projects as well as repairs and upgrades to existing buildings.  We intend to continue this with the construction of the Catherine Houghton Arts Center. 

Construction of the Catherine Houghton Arts Center will begin in Spring 2013 with a planned January 2014 opening date. The School will celebrate Kitty’s life and host a ribbon-cutting ceremony as part of our Fall 2013 Alumnae/i Weekend events. Building plans and other details are coming soon, and we will keep you updated as we go.

To read more about Kitty’s remarkable life and work or to share memories and pay respects, vist her obituary, the School’s tribute, and her memorial page.

Contributions to the Catherine Houghton Ars Center can be made here.

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