Academy of MusicFrom the Academy of Fine Arts: The Campaign to restore the historic Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Lynchburg took a major leap forward yesterday with the announcement of $2.3 million in support from the City of Lynchburg. This brings the Academy Campaign total to $12.25 million toward the goal of $16.6 million.  “Thank you to the five members of City Council who recognize the clear economic impact this project will have on our downtown community,” said Academy Campaign Chairman George Dawson. “The motion for approval by Councilman Ceasor Johnson, seconded by Councilwoman Joan Foster, with strong support from Council members Nelson, Gillette and Tweedy, demonstrate their collective vision. With just over $4 million to go, it’s time for all of us to make this happen.”

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The City’s financial support was voted on in yesterday’s City Council meeting. The Academy’s request for support was first heard by City Council at its August 11 meeting. In response, the Council directed City staff to explore how funding might be identified to support the renovation.

The disbursement of funds is accompanied by a covenant between the City of Lynchburg and the Academy, protecting the city’s investment and ensuring the Academy continues to provide long-standing arts and culture programming in service to our community.

“This just makes economic sense, but most of all it makes sense for our community. It makes sense for our downtown, but for all of Lynchburg and all of Virginia,” said City Council member Joan Foster. “I think we need that anchor. I think we need that draw, that destination, and the Academy is so unique and so many wonderful things will happen on that stage.”

The goal is to complete Academy campaign fundraising by spring of 2016, for projected property completion in 2018. The Academy now has only $4.35 million remaining to raise. Going forward, success for the Campaign will rely on many individual contributions as well as support from corporations and foundations.

“The City put us one step closer to our goal with last night’s vote. The city’s participation is meaningful because our plans are for this theatre to be a service to the city and all its citizens. We are in this together,” said Geoffrey Kershner, the Academy’s Executive Director.

If you are interested in becoming a donor to help complete the historic theatre renovation that will bring an exciting new arts complex to Lynchburg and the region, please contact Beth Doyle at 434.528.3256 x116 or