The Foundation notes with pride that the performing and visual arts are flourishing in LaGrange.
The Lafayette Society for Performing Arts, Inc., an umbrella organization for six performing arts groups encompassing the choral, instrumental, ballet, dance, theatre and storytelling arts, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005.
Recent grants from the Foundation have allowed the LSPA to expand and the organization now has rehearsal and performance facilities at 210, 212, and 214 Bull Street. The facilities contain four dance rehearsal studios, two choral rehearsal rooms, an orchestra rehearsal room, office space, space for instrument storage and a black box theatre. The original ticket booth from the old LaGrange Theatre is to be preserved and incorporated into the new LSPA lobby.
The black box theatre will seat 147 people for performances. It features movable seating, risers, stage and sound baffles, all of which can be readily configured to a variety of uses, from plays and lectures to dinner theatre and a community room.
Despite its name, the black box is not black, except for the ceiling. Throughout the building are light gray walls, darker grey accents, burgundy doors and muted color carpet. The concept is to offer no distraction to audience members, instead letting them focus on the performance.
Part of the mission of the LSPA is to provide performing arts opportunities for Troup County residents, with high quality performances at affordable prices for the people of west central Georgia.
A September 2005 newspaper account pointed out that during the previous three years, LSPA groups performed over 125 shows for over 35,000 people. It also noted that the organization is constantly striving to reach out into the community with cultural opportunities for area youth.
Some four years ago, a study by the Atlanta based consulting firm, the Tomlinson-Graham Group, pointed out that there was a pressing need for additional rehearsal and performance space for LaGrange's performing arts community. Over the years, Foundation gifts of $2.5 million to LSPA, for both capital and operational funding, have been structured to help meet those needs.
A grant not to exceed $400,000 was made to the Troup County Board of Education to aid with the project to upgrade the Fine Arts Auditorium at Troup County High School. Improvements include an orchestra pit filler, an acoustical shell, improved rigging and necessary electrical work. A nationally known theatre consultant group, Auerback-Pollock-Friedlander, of New York City, did the design work for the project.
Representatives from Troup County's arts community and school system officials have made arrangements for joint usage of the improved facility. In a 2004 letter to the Foundation, then Superintendent Roy D. Nichols, Jr. wrote, "�We are genuinely excited about the synergy that could result from the cooperation between the high school and the Troup County arts community."
Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum has received capital and operational funding of more than $2.3 million.
Funding was provided for the complete restoration of the old Troup County jail building located in downtown LaGrange. The building was purchased by the Foundation and deeded to CVAM for its home. Restoration plans included preserving the historic value of the building while at the same time making modifications for its practical use. The renovated facility enables the Art Museum to present large portions of its entire art collection for viewing at all times. Extensive gallery areas allow various kinds of art exhibitions to run concurrently.
A recent grant of $300,000 was made to CVAM to be used for the design and construction of a plaza between the parking deck and the Museum. CVAM Plaza, serving as the back entrance to the Museum, will be located at the end of the Promenade coming down from Main Street. With an attractive water feature, it promises to be an active part of the downtown revitalization, lasting for years to come.
Foundation gifts totaling $4 million, combined with $1.5 million in funds from LaGrange College, have recently been used to completely renovate Callaway Auditorium, now a part of the College. The renovated facility has permanent theatre seating, a new roof, expanded stage, a new sound system and improved acoustics.
The auditorium will be home to the LaGrange Symphony and also feature performances by the college and other organizations. The Foundation is a long time supporter of the Symphony. Since its inception, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra has received operational funding of more than $560,000.
Other LaGrange College facilities provided by the Foundation are located on Forrest Avenue, across the street from the main campus area. The first such facility is the Price Theatre, an ultramodern drama building which was completed and dedicated in 1975. Named for the late Lewis Price, LaGrange business executive and long-time member of the College's Board of Trustees, the $1.8 million building is one of the finest collegiate theatrical arts facilities in the nation.
Also located on Forrest Avenue, between the main campus and the Callaway Campus of LaGrange College, is the $2 million Lamar Dodd Art Center which was completed in 1982. The art center, named in honor of the late Dr. Lamar Dodd, world renowned artist who grew up in LaGrange, is a three story rectilinear structure that contains art studios, lecture rooms, art faculty offices and gallery areas.