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Mary B. Martin School of the Arts established

Friday, February 06, 2009JOHNSON CITY – In a news conference today, East Tennessee State University President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. announced the establishment of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts with a $1 million naming endowment created by James C. “Jim” Martin.

Martin, a Johnson City resident, donated funds to the ETSU Foundation to endow the school in memory of his wife, who earned her B.A. degree in chemistry from ETSU while working at Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport. Mrs. Martin enjoyed numerous creative endeavors throughout her life, including sewing and interior decorating, and the Martin family also appreciated both music and storytelling performances.

Stanton said, “The university is fortunate to have a wide array of academic programs encompassing the visual, performing and literary arts, such as theater, dance, storytelling, digital media, graphic design, and a variety of music genres, as well as painting, photography and others.

“Because these numerous arts programs are housed in various departments within several different colleges, we determined that ETSU needed to establish a stronger organizational structure to allow greater collaboration and coordination of activities while enhancing support for all of our arts initiatives. And that is the focus of the university’s new Mary B. Martin School of the Arts so generously endowed by Mr. Martin.”

According to ETSU Foundation President/CEO and Vice President for University Advancement Dr. Richard A. Manahan, “The Martin School will be supported by interest on this benefactor’s investment, augmented by subscriptions and ticket sales to arts events. In addition, the school will seek support through corporate and other private sponsorship and gifts, and through external grants and contracts.”

While the Martin School will be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, arts programs not currently part of that college will benefit by participating with the school, according to the new school’s director, Anita DeAngelis, who teaches drawing and book arts courses in the ETSU Department of Art and Design and also serves as the college’s associate dean for the arts.

“We have several goals for the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts,” she said, “and these include building partnerships among ETSU academic units as well as with the arts community and arts organizations throughout the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia region and Western North Carolina. In addition, the school will develop an annual performance and exhibition series designed to bring greater distinction to both the university and the extended region ETSU serves.”

She added, “The funding that this endowment will provide is exciting for all of our arts areas. ETSU arts faculty, students and programs have provided the broader community with significant arts events over the years, and we often struggle to fund such activities. Mr. Martin is making it possible for us to bring additional high-caliber artists and performers to our community.”

Prior to joining the ETSU faculty in 1994, DeAngelis taught at Concordia

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