January’s Last Friday Art Walk had more than just talented artists from throughout the region for patrons to get excited about. At the Davis Street Lofts, people gathered to support a facility that will showcase the arts for years to come.
Jan. 30, during the Art Walk, supporters held the kickoff for the public phase of fundraising for the Civic Arts Center. The facility is being built on Maryville College campus. There is approximately $7 million of the $47.3 million price still to be raised, said supporters. With money from the college, cities, state and federal governments already in place, supporters brought their cause to the public.
Artwork by Maryville College professors Carl Gombert and Mark Hall were showcased at the reception. Civic Arts Center executive director Robert Hutchens said the level of the energy in the room impressed him. “Just listening to people talk and interact with each other, I was really surprised by that enthusiasm,” he said. “I think it was an extremely positive beginning for the public phase of the fundraising drive.”
Hutchens said the move-in for the center is scheduled to be in winter of 2010 for faculty and classes. The grand opening is March or April of 2010, he said.
Karyn Adams, assistant vice president for marketing and communications, said she was pleased with the broad spectrum of people who attended the event in the unfinished penthouse of the Davis Street Lofts. “That was what we hoped for -- to get as many people from as diverse a background as possible to take ownership of the project and push the center to its final stage,” she said.
Adams said about 150 people dropped in from 4 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 30. Lapel pins were handed out to bring awareness to the fundraising effort to those milling around downtown as part of the Last Friday Art Walk event. “Even if people weren’t able to make it to the launch, they would see pins on people lapels and be curious,” she said.