Major donation propels Academy Theatre restoration campaign over $6.1 million mark

Academy of MusicFrom the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts: The Academy has received a gift of more than $1 million from an anonymous donor toward the organization’s $16.6 million capital campaign to restore the historic theatre, which will bring to life a nearly 800-seat performing and visual arts complex for this region. With this gift, more than $6.1 million-over one-third of the campaign goal-has been raised. This gift is among the largest gifts ever made to the Academy, and the largest single commitment received toward the current campaign effort, which began in October of 2012. “We are thrilled,” said George Dawson, the Academy’s chairman of the Capital Campaign. “This gift demonstrates the donor’s commitment to the Academy, our mission in the community and to the new leadership direction represented by Geoffrey Kershner, our new Executive Director.” Kershner’s appointment was announced in early March. He will officially begin his position May 18.

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The current campaign is benefiting from enthusiastic support from many corporate, public, private and individual supporters. Those making commitments in excess of $250,000 to the current campaign include Liberty University, the Genworth Foundation, Barbara and Cleve McGehee, Moore & Giles Inc. and Robert Roberts.

“Leadership gifts like this set the stage for a successful campaign,” said Dawson. “As the campaign gains even greater momentum, we will be asking the entire community to help.”

While fundraising progresses, the Academy is issuing construction contracts to prepare for the major restoration work, which will follow. Recently, the marquee and canopy were restored. Next steps will include repairing the theatre roof and exterior brick walls, and stabilizing foundations and footings. Architects are continuing to review the overall design to ensure building and construction efficiency.

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