LDDC seeks support for Perry Foundation grant

Louisa Arts Center to raise $150,000 by June 30
By Pat Wilson
The Central Virginian November 30, 2006

The Louisa Downtown Development Corporation was notified in October that it had gained approval of a $150,000 matching grant from the Perry Foundation in Charlottesville. The funds will be used for the construction of the theater portion of the Louisa Arts Center.

The theater will be located in the auditorium of the former school on Fredericksburg Avenue. The arts center shares space with the Louisa Town Hall, which opened in July following the partial restoration of the historic building.

Normally supporting non-profit ventures in the Charlottesville-Albemarle community, the foundations’s board was impressed with the scope of the arts center and its potential benefit to area residents.

Francis Fife, foundation president, and his wife, Nancy O’Brien, attended the Hard Hat Tour of the former school last July, and observed the progress of the project.

Grant writer, Shirley Stewart, contacted him.

“On occasion, we have requests from other counties in the planning district,” said Fife.

Foundation secretary and trustee, Susan Cabell Mains, researched the arts center project and recommended the organization approve a grant.

“The historic side of the project, and its use as a town center for cultural events appealed to the board of trustees,” said Fife.

Among the local non-profit organizations that have previously benefitted from the Perry Foundation are the Betty J. Queen Intergenerational Center and the Louisa County Resource Council for construction of its building to house the food bank and Medical Outreach Services.

The directors of the LDDC, a non-profit corporation, is actively seeking donations and pledges to raise its $150,000 share by June 30, 2007, the deadline for receiving the grant.

Pam Stone, LDDC president, emphasized the need to accomplish this goal.

“It is an all or nothing grant. This is the critical part,” she said. “It is contingent upon our raising an equal amount in new funds donated toward the overall remaining construction costs.”

Achieving the $300,000 threshold will give the LDDC one-half of the revenue to complete the arts center and the adjacent gallery, as well as furnish the theater with state-of-the-art equipment.

“This includes if a person buys a seat or a brick, or pledges an amount over the next two years,” said Stone.

Adding that a seat at $500 or a patio brick at $150 is an ideal Christmas gift, Stone hopes that the community will step forward to assist with the grant challenge. She also appeals to businesses and corporations to support the final capital campaign.

“We have several levels of donation designations [from $300,000 down to $2,500] and rooms that can be named,” she said.

In particular, the gallery kitchen ($46,000), an art education room ($60,000), the patio area ($45,000), the children’s playground ($35,000) and the adjacent park ($40,000) are still available for naming.

Corporate sponsors of $10,000 or $20,000 will be acknowledged on plaques in the town council’s meeting room.

“A person can give money toward the theater construction, but the town is giving us the naming opportunities on behalf of the entire project,” said Stone.

The generosity of the William A. Cooke Foundation and John Jerl Purcell and Harold Walton Purcell have led to the naming of the theater and gallery/lobby respectively.

The Louisa Arts Center construction centers around extending the stage to suit a myriad of live presentation options, plus the construction of a backstage green room and loading area.

Approximately 170 seats in the 212-seat theater can be “purchased” with a name plate to be attached acknowledging the recipient as specified by the donor.

Other funds will provide for modern lighting and sound systems, as well projection capability, located in a mezzanine.

Stone is pleased that the block foundation has been laid for the art gallery/lobby and catering kitchen, on the northside of the building.

“We have raised the funds for this phase,” she said.

Interim finance has been arranged to permit Loudin Building Systems to continue working on the entire project.

“This is a cost-saving measure to allow us to move forward,” said Stone.

The LDDC president emphasized that she would be “thrilled” if the capital campaign could exceed the $150,000 needed to match the Perry Foundation grant.

With the support of the community, the theater could open in less than a year, according to Stone.

“We hope that contributions and pledges will cover our funding,” she said. “But the bottom line is that we need the $150,000 to come in as quickly as possible. Anything people give now will go toward the Perry Foundation matching grant.”

For more information or to assist financially with the development of the center, visit the website, www.louisaarts.org or contact Stone at (540) 967-2582. Donations can be mailed to LDDC, P. O. Box 2119, Louisa, VA 23093.