Claytons donate $5 million to Civic Arts Center

The private fundraising effort for the $47.3 million Civic Arts Center project received its largest single gift to date when the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes, Inc. combined efforts to commit $5 million to the Civic Arts Center project.

The leadership gift was announced this week by Jim and Kay Clayton of the Foundation and Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes, Inc.

“The Civic Arts Center will positively impact our community and region - schools, arts, culture and economic development,” said Kevin Clayton. “We’re proud to be a part of this project along with so many others who will help make this possible.”

Since the earliest stages of the project, Clayton has been heading up the private fundraising efforts and working closely with the College and city officials.

The Civic Arts Center (CAC) was established as a partnership project between the cities of Maryville and Alcoa and Maryville College, and is receiving funding from all three sources, as well as state and federal governments. Clayton’s announcement of committing $5 million to the partnership project was received enthusiastically by the cities and the College.

“The CAC project is a partnership that will benefit us all,” said Maryville Mayor Joe Swann.

“We are grateful that the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes have provided such a generous leadership gift for an important community project,” stated Alcoa Mayor Donald Mull.

Dr. Gerald Gibson, president of Maryville College, shared news of the $5 million commitment with the institution’s board of directors on Thursday during the annual fall board meeting.

“Since early on, the Claytons have understood the impact this project would have on our community, and now they are providing key support to make it happen,” stated Gibson. “The College is immensely pleased that the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes have stepped up to this record level.”

The funding agreement of the project includes $3.75 million from the city of Alcoa, $9.38 million from the city of Maryville, $6.8 million in federal and $2 million in state dollars, with the remaining $25 million to be raised privately. To date, a total of $36 million has been raised, with a remaining $11.3 left to fund.

“We still have work to do,” Gibson said. “Today’s announcement of such a generous commitment represents a willingness to stretch to make this project a reality. We will need more of that.”

The site of the CAC, located on the Maryville College campus, is prepared for construction and will begin seeing activity once a general contractor is selected.

The project consists of two structures: a main building that will house a 1,200-seat performance hall and a 200-seat flexible theatre; and an art and recital hall that will house a 250-seat recital hall and galleries to support the visual arts. The two buildings will be connected by an attractive and spacious outdoor arts plaza.

“As designed, this facility will be a premier cultural and educational asset and will serve as a gathering place for our region. It will give our local artists a place to perform and present their work, and we will be able to invite shows and performers from around the world to Blount County,” stated Clayton.

Clayton emphasized the need for continued support.

“The next six weeks are key. In order to realize this project as planned, everyone will have to stretch. The leadership gifts phase of the project is still underway, but we hope to be concluding it soon,” he said. “Once the leadership gifts have been finalized, we will be reaching out to the community for support. And that support will be critical.”

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