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ETSU Foundation commits $1 million for Arts Center

ETSU Arts -- Dance Concert

JOHNSON CITY (May 16, 2013) – The East Tennessee State University Foundation committed $1 million to support the proposed ETSU Arts Center during its annual business meeting today (May 16) at The Millennium Centre.

“The ETSU Arts Initiative: Enhancing Lives, Enriching Our Region” was launched in February to position ETSU to expand arts programming, encourage innovative collaborations among the arts and other disciplines, and promote partnerships with businesses and other organizations. 

A major component of the initiative will be the construction of a new arts center for ETSU, which was identified as a need for the university more than a quarter-century ago.  State funding for the planning of an arts center was appropriated earlier this year, and funding for the facility may soon be available. 

The facility is projected to cost approximately $38 million, with $9.5 million of that coming through matching funds from the university.  The initial leadership gift toward those matching funds – a $3 million pledge by James C. Martin, whose earlier gifts in memory of his wife led to the establishment and subsequent operation of ETSU’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts – was announced in February.

“The officers, directors and members of the ETSU Foundation wish to express their support and encouragement for the fullest development possible of the ETSU Arts Initiative,” said D. Roger Kennedy, chairman of the ETSU Foundation Board of Directors, in making the announcement.  “We applaud and appreciate the forward-looking leadership ETSU President Brian Noland and others are providing to construct the Arts Center facility as the centerpiece of the ETSU Arts Initiative.

“The ETSU Foundation is pleased to offer this leadership gift to enable the university to meet its objectives to enhance opportunities for arts education and as a regional leader for a diverse range of arts performances.  I ask that all ETSU alumni and friends consider making gifts to join with the ETSU Foundation and others as together we raise the private support to meet the $9.5 million goal for the facility by June 30, 2014.”

ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland said, “On behalf of the entire ETSU community, our alumni and friends, I am deeply grateful for this leadership gift for the ETSU Arts Initiative from the ETSU Foundation.  As the ‘Number One Priority’ for the university, the construction of the Arts Center will enable ETSU to become a regional destination for excellent arts performances and provide education across the full spectrum of the fine and performing arts.

“This support moves the university closer to its initial fundraising goal of $9.5 million and represents a significant milestone as we work to build the Arts Center.  Now that we have officially crossed the $4 million threshold in total support, we will continue to move forward until we reach our initial goal.”

“The ETSU Foundation is proud to offer its leadership role in the development of the Arts Center for the university and the region,” said Dr. Richard Manahan, president and CEO of the ETSU Foundation and vice president for University Advancement.  “It is my hope that this support will be a catalyst to secure additional gifts to reach our fundraising goals.  With the state’s matching capital funds program, we have a great window of opportunity to leverage private and public gifts to build the Arts Center as the realization of a long-held dream for the students and faculty of ETSU and the people we serve in so many ways in our region and beyond.”

As part of the Arts Initiative, numerous opportunities for naming gifts have been identified, and a “Now Seating” campaign is under way.  “Now Seating” allows individuals or organizations to purchase seats in a 1,400-seat concert hall, a 500-seat theater and a 250-seat recital hall within the proposed facility.  These seats may be designated in honor or memory of special individuals or in honor of a company or organization.

For more information, call the ETSU University Advancement Office at (423) 439-4242 or visit www.etsu.edu/artsinitiative