Colonial Arts Center Board Member Keith Buchanan discusses past, present and future fundraising efforts to complete the Colonial Arts Center. / Photo by Katie Kuba

Colonial Arts Challenge to kick off fundraising contest in January 2023 with opportunities for naming rights

BUCKHANNON – Colonial Arts Center Board Member Keith Buchanan provided an update at the most recent Buckhannon City Council meeting regarding 2023 naming opportunities for significant donors, an initiative he dubbed the Colonial Arts Challenge.

Buchanan talked about funds raised thus far, saying there has been a lot of support and significant donations for the Colonial Arts Center since its inception when the City of Buckhannon acquired the center.

“There have been a lot of significant fundraising initiatives, including grants that were initiated by Bryson (VanNostrand), ART26201 and the City of Buckhannon collaborating together which raised approximately $279,000 from grants total since the inception, which was matched by the city,” Buchanan said. “Anne (Wilson) is still researching other grants.”

He said the second type of fundraising came through some major, significant corporate donors.

“I know David McCauley and some other folks solicited businesses like FirstEnergy who gave us three different grants during that period of time,” he said. “In 2022, a couple of really big things happened. St. Joseph’s WVU Medicine Foundation came through with a five-year commitment that basically funded the education studios downstairs, and of course, you will be hearing about some naming opportunities later. In that same year, West Virginia Wesleyan College committed to in-kind donations, which involves people and expertise.”

Buchanan said recently, the CAC Board members contributed jointly, and Steve and Lisa Cain contributed over $9,000 following a tour of the CAC for the purchase of stage curtains and the associated hardware.

Buchanan said there is a list of 2023 naming opportunities for significant donors.  

“This is going to be called the Colonial Arts Challenge and will kick off January 2023,” Buchanan said. “We have a window of January [2023] through July 2024, so that will create some urgency. One of the fastest ways of getting there is with naming opportunities as sponsors. We would like the Buckhannon City Council members to think about who they know that they could get in touch with who might be interested in naming opportunities that could really light up the entire arts scene in Buckhannon.”

“For us to reach our goals, we need more oars in the water,” Buchanan said.

Colonial Arts Challenge remaining naming opportunities for significant donors include $15,000 for the Green Room; $50,000 for the M.I.B. Art Gallery; $75,000 for the Balcony Theatre; and $100,000 for the Main Hall. Buckhannon Community Theatre has already secured naming rights for the Lobby and Box Office in the amount of $25,000 in honor of the late Jim Knorr, and St. Joseph’s Hospital and WVU Medicine have secured naming rights for the Education Suite.

“Keith, you have done a great job on this,” Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner said. “I think these amounts are great and I think you put a lot of thought and work into categorizing each of the spaces and you set a very aggressive goal, but you need an aggressive goal to get the work done. Very nicely done.”

For more information about the 2023 naming opportunities for significant donors, contact Wilson at

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