For the arts

Local couples host events to help Clayton Center for the Arts reach funding goal

Dr. Terry and Starr Bragg, left, are joined by Amanda and Kevin Painter at a fundraising event at the Bragg home for the Clayton Center for the Arts.

Dr. Terry and Starr Bragg, left, are joined by Amanda and Kevin Painter at a fundraising event at the Bragg home for the Clayton Center for the Arts.

Hosts for an evening at RT Lodge to help raise funds for the Clayton Center for the Arts were, from left, Joe and Sue Dawson, Fred and Carolyn Forster, Tom and Kathy Howard and Mike and Ibby Davis.

Hosts for an evening at RT Lodge to help raise funds for the Clayton Center for the Arts were, from left, Joe and Sue Dawson, Fred and Carolyn Forster, Tom and Kathy Howard and Mike and Ibby Davis.

Two different events held recently had the same purpose: To help raise fund for the Clayton Center for the Arts, which is nearing completion on Maryville College campus.

Dr. Terry and Starr Bragg hosted a fund-raising event at their Maryville home on Nov. 5 on behalf of the Clayton Center for the Arts. The event was attended by more than 40 local invitees who were entertained by performances from Dr. Bill Swann, Maryville College associate professor of music; vocalist Emily Emadian, a 2009 MC graduate; and Alex Cherry, a Maryville Middle School student and member of Primary Players, a local children’s theatre group. Cherry was accompanied by Jennifer Olander, a 2005 graduate of Maryville College who is currently a visiting instructor of music.

The Braggs shared with guests how important they feel the Clayton Center will be to the local community.

“This Center will be a special place, and it is up to us to help put the final touches on it,” Starr Bragg said. “We need everyone in the community to be a part of the Clayton Center for the Arts.”

Kevin Painter, chair of the executive committee of the Clayton Center Advisory Board, also gave a brief update on the community fund-raising, telling the crowd that roughly half of the $2-million local fund-raising goal has been raised.

On Nov. 15, four local couples - Ibby and Mike Davis, Carolyn and Fred Forster, Kathy and Tom Howard and Sue and Joe Dawson - hosted an event at RT Lodge 15 to raise funds for the arts center.

Some 60-plus people attended the event. They were given a private tour of the Center and shown a presentation that covered the latest progress on this community fund-raising initiative.

Constructed through a partnership of the College, the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, and state and federal governments, the $47-million Clayton Center for the Arts will celebrate the art and culture of the Appalachian region by serving as a venue for local musicians, performers and artists.

Its design will also accommodate plays and musicals, concerts by touring musicians and orchestras, traveling art exhibits, film series, children’s plays and presentations by nationally recognized speakers.

A public grand opening is planned for March 2010.

At the Nov. 15 event, Painter told the group that of the $2-million goal set for the community, “We have raised a little over $1 million.”

Calling the Clayton Center “an incredible partnership,” executive director Robert Hutchens said, “We are now to the point that we are putting final touches on the Center, and we need everyone’s help.”

John Cherry, the Center’s marketing director, reported that the spring and fall seasons were “coming together very well” and said he was looking forward to a January announcement of who these groups were, as well as announcing the availability of season tickets.

Finally, Holly Jackson-Ludlow, Maryville College’s vice president of advancement and community relations, shared that only 11 “naming opportunity” spaces remain out of 69 originally announced. Additionally, there are gift opportunities of all sizes. While named room spaces start at $25,000 (payable over three years), named seats in the 1,200-seat theatre start at just $2,000, and named pavers on the Outdoor Plaza range from $250 for children ages 18 years and younger and $1,000 for adults.

Constructed through a partnership of the College, the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, and state and federal governments, the $47-million Clayton Center for the Arts will celebrate the art and culture of the Appalachian region by serving as a venue for local musicians, performers and artists.

For more information on how to become a part of the Clayton Center, visit www.claytonartscenter.com or contact Jackson-Ludlow at 865-273-8884 or holly.ludlow@maryvillecollege.edu.

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