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Left to Right: Keith Buchanan, Randy Sanders, Laura Meadows, David McCauley, Tammy Reger, Tim Pingley, Cj Rylands, Amby Jenkins, Bryson VanNostrand, Lisa Wharton, Keith Saine, and KB saine.

FirstEnergy Foundation gift of $10K lifts Colonial Theatre renovation; ART26201 and City partnership reaps benefits for local youth

BUCKHANNON – The renovation of the former Colonial Theatre continues to gain steam with a $10,000 gift from FirstEnergy Foundation announced at the theatre on Friday. The gift will enable continued work on the main theatre space, entrance, and lobby.

Once complete, regular productions will commence, featuring theatrical pieces, performing arts, and music concerts that will thrill audiences of all ages. Following the announcement, ART26201 and City representatives led a tour of the theatre and the recent renovations.

Corporate support like the $10,000 gift from FirstEnergy Foundation will help prepare the Colonial Theatre for upcoming community events.  ART26201 plans to host a second annual variety show later this summer, followed by Dracula by Buckhannon Community Theatre in October. The City will once again host performances at the theatre during Fall Fest slated for September 25 -29 in downtown Buckhannon.

The Colonial Theatre will serve as an expansion of the Stockert Youth & Community Center (SYCC), allowing for additional arts education and youth productions through the afterschool program and summer camp. 

SYCC anticipates utilizing the space in the fall of 2019 for afterschool programming in cooperation with the Upshur County Board of Education and local arts organizations. Buckhannon Community Theatre will make the Colonial Theatre their home, providing young actors with a venue to learn and share the craft.

Opportunities will also be presented for instruction in set design, music/theatre technology, and costuming. ART26201’s Young Filmmaker Camp, led by local filmmaker and educator, Jamie Johnson, will bring film production education to the space each summer.

Participation in the arts can create an avenue for positive youth development, community engagement, and academic achievement. SYCC’s Colonial Theatre will connect young artists to local arts venues and mentors, thanks in part to FirstEnergy Foundation.

The FirstEnergy Foundation gift will be received by the ART26201 and dispersed to the City, once again demonstrating the power of strong public-private partnerships for successful community development projects.

KB Saine of ART26201 said, “FirstEnergy’s representatives really understand the economic impact of investing in the arts in communities like Buckhannon. When their representatives Tim Pingley and Greg Hefner visited the city during tours led by City and ART26201 representatives, they became genuinely excited by the chance to be a part of this main street revitalization.”

Mayor David McCauley said, “In this collaboration, we have a nonprofit, a local government body, and a large corporation working together to provide arts programming and education for our community. When we all work together, we can create amazing spaces in our town that improve the lives of residents and attract tourists and new businesses.”

FirstEnergy representative, Tim Pingley, said, “FirstEnergy recognizes the importance of the arts. We proudly invest in projects such as the Colonial Theatre that benefit the area’s youth and local economy and are essential to the well-being of communities.”

The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy’s 10 electric operating companies and in areas where the company conducts business.

The City remains grateful and thrilled to receive previous significant gifts and pledges of financial support from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, & History, ART26201, Buckhannon Community Theatre via the Jim Knorr Memorial Lobby campaign, the McMurtry family, numerous fundraising events, and donations from additional members of the Buckhannon community near and far. The FirstEnergy Foundation joins this growing list of community arts patrons.

Built in 1924, the Colonial Theatre sits just across Main Street from Traders Alley, home to Lascaux MicroTheatre and many outdoor artworks and events. The alley leads to Jawbone Park, which features sculpture and is host to Festival Fridays and other seasonal performing arts.

The Colonial Theatre, Main Street, Traders Alley, and Jawbone Park collectively form the downtown Buckhannon Arts District, complete with ADA accessible sidewalks, parking, and amenities.

Naming opportunities for gallery and theatre spaces are still available. Interested businesses and individuals may donate to the Colonial Theatre’s fundraising campaign by calling City Hall at (304) 472-1651, or residents may set-up a recurring monthly contribution via their City utility payment.  Follow this link for the automated enrollment form:http://buckhannonwv.org/nas/content/live/mybuckhannon22/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Monthly-Recurring-Gift-Form.pdf

Patrons interested in presenting large gifts with naming recognition included should contact Mayor David McCauley through Buckhannon City Hall at (304) 472-1651 or kb saine at ART26201, k.b.saine@gmail.com.

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