Close this search box.



Collage Dance Center Only 2024 Award Recipient in the Mid-South


June 10, 2024 (Memphis, TN)Collage Dance – named one of the 50 largest ballet companies in the nation by Dance Data Project (DDP), a significant achievement for the organization, which happens to be one of the youngest companies to grace DDP’s list – is proud to announce that its center for dance at 505 Tillman Street in Memphis, Tennessee has received the coveted Education Facility Design Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The center is home to the Collage Dance Conservatory and its international touring company Collage Dance Collective.


This honor was announced at the AIA Awards Gala, part of the AIA Conference on Architecture & Design 2024, on the evening of Friday, June 7th, 2024 at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. The AIA Awards, spanning nearly 30 categories, recognize outstanding achievements and exemplary design across various practice areas, representing the pinnacle of industry prestige. The Education Facility Design Award celebrates state-of-the-art learning environments, including early childhood, K-12, alternative, higher education, non-traditional learning environments, and more.


Collage’s headquarters, formally known as the Andrea Louise Jenkins Center for Dance – in honor of the late founder of the Jenkins Family Foundation who was an avid early supporter of Collage Dance – was completed in December 2020. The center is 22,500 square feet, featuring five, spacious sun-lit studios, five dressing rooms, multiple lounges, interior and exterior courtyards, and a private parking lot all on 2.5 acres of land. The center offers an ideal setting for private and special events. Additionally, the studios can be rented for dance or movement classes and workshops, master classes, private lessons, and other activities.


Collage Dance Executive Director Marcellus Harper says, “Receiving the Education Facility Design Award from the American Institute of Architects highlights the steadfast support of our community and the visionary guidance of our Board. We have established a home in our city that transcends conventional dance training, fostering personal development and communal transformation, one student at a time. We are profoundly appreciative and honored by this recognition from the American Institute of Architects, as it validates and uplifts our mission.”


Collage Dance Artistic Director Kevin Thomas says, “We are deeply honored to receive the Education Facility Design Award from the American Institute of Architects for Collage Dance’s new headquarters in the heart of Memphis. This recognition is a testament to our commitment to investing in the youth of this city and providing them with unparalleled opportunities. Our state-of-the-art facility is more than just a building – it’s a centralized hub where young dancers can hone their craft, unleash their creativity, and pursue their dreams. This award underscores the importance of creating spaces that inspire and nurture the next generation of artists. We are proud to be at the forefront of fostering artistic growth and innovation in our community, and extend our deepest gratitude to the AIA for this recognition.”


Todd Walker, FAIA, Founding Partner of archimania, the architecture firm responsible for building the celebrated center, shares, “We are honored to receive this national award on behalf of our team and Collage Dance. It was a privilege to be a design partner as the organization implements their vision now and into the future.”


Collage’s dance center has garnered additional awards and recognition including the Section Award from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) Illumination Award (2023); American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum (2022); Best of Education Award from IIDA Tennessee (2022); Award of Excellence from AIA Tennessee (2022); Best New Construction Award, Small from MBJ Building Memphis Awards (2022); Design Award for Ribbed Metal Wall Panels from Metal Architecture (2021); and Award of Excellence / Sustainability Award from AIA Memphis (2021).


Collage Dance recently announced its 15th performance season. A milestone for the company, Reframing the Narrative spotlights stories from communities of color, reclaiming space in classical narratives and reshaping the landscape of ballet. The 2024-25 season is a vibrant collage of some of the most universal and powerful narratives ever told, certain to captivate dance aficionados and newcomers alike. Season highlights include the Annual Memphis Dance Festival on National Dance Day, Saturday, September 21, 2024 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m., now in its fourth consecutive year and held at the Collage Dance Center; Kevin Thomas’s ballet FIREBIRD, set in South Africa, from October 25 to 27, 2024 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts; Thomas’s hallmark ballet Rise – set to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final public speech – plus his and Amy Hall Garner’s ​​Their Eyes Were Watching God from January 31 to February 1, 2025 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts; and the 14th Annual Gala Fundraiser in support of the Collage Dance Conservatory on Sunday, April 27, 2025 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the FedEx Event Center. Collage Dance Collective, the organization’s professional dance company headquartered at its center for dance, also presents extensive national touring as part of its milestone season. Watch the season preview video here. Season subscriptions are available via or by calling 901-800-1873.


About Collage Dance 


Collage Dance, recently named a “Southern Cultural Treasure” by South Arts and the Ford Foundation, and listed among the 50 largest ballet companies in the nation by Dance Data Project, is one of the largest Black-led performing arts organizations in the South and one of just a few professional ballet companies in the world with a roster of BIPOC dancers.

Working to inspire the growth and diversity of ballet, Collage Dance Collective showcases a repertoire of relevant choreography and world-class dancers representative of the communities we serve. The professional company has presented fourteen full-length seasons in Memphis, plus national and international touring presenting a diverse range of classical and contemporary choreography from George Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, Nacho Duato, Ulysses Dove, Joshua Manculich, Amy Hall Garner, Kevin Iega Jeff, and more.

The work of Collage Dance Collective has been featured in media outlets including Huffington Post, Allure, New York Magazine, Essence, Memphis Magazine, Afropunk, Dance Magazine, and Pointe Magazine.


Learn more at

Image at top of release by archimania




Contact: Mallory McFarland | Morahan Arts and Media | (646) 241-0899