Friday, February 24, 2006

Private Money for the Arts

Unlike the neighboring Paramount Theatre, which unashamedly sucks at the public teat (the Virginia General Assembly just appropriated another $50,000 in taxpayers' money to what is, in form and function, a commercial performing arts venue) the City Center for Contemporary Arts, which houses the Live Arts theatre group as well as Light House (a film and video educational organization) and the Second Street Gallery (which displays graphic arts) has prided itself on its refusal to take public money.

(I wrote about C3A about a year ago in an article on taxpayer subsidies for arts institutions.)

Today a news release crossed me desk, announcing that Bama Works, the charitable wing of the Dave Matthews Band, is giving C3A a booster shot of more than half a million dolllars.

Here's the news release in its entirety:


Bama Works Fund pledges $550,000 to City Center for Contemporary Arts

Charlottesville, Virginia (February 23, 2006) – Bama Works Fund, the charitable giving arm of the Dave Matthews Band, announced today a $550,000 pledge to Charlottesville’s City Center for Contemporary Arts.

The pledge represents half of the $1.1 million left to raise to complete the C3A Building Campaign. For the remainder, the band is challenging the local community to pitch in and finish the campaign by the end of the year.

“I believe strongly that everyone should have a chance to participate in the arts,” said DMB’s Carter Beauford. “We feel that there’s a role we can play to help people have access to creative opportunities – not just by funding the arts ourselves, but also by challenging everyone to continue to support the arts and nurture other artists.”

The result of a collaboration between three Charlottesville nonprofit arts organizations – Live Arts, Second Street Gallery and Light House – City Center for Contemporary Arts opened the doors to its partially completed facility in the fall of 2003. The award-winning arts complex houses theater, gallery and film education spaces run by each of the independent organizations.

The organizations hope to finalize their capital campaign, complete unfinished spaces in the building, and provide for long-term maintenance needs by raising funds to match the Bama Works pledge by December 31, 2006.

“Bama Works’ pledge to the completion campaign for City Center is a wonderful way of leading by example,” said organization Chair Thane Kerner. “Their commitment to the arts and philanthropy is without question, but they’re also encouraging our community by saying ‘meet us half way’--which makes their gift doubly powerful.”

Bama Works Fund was established as a part of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation by the Dave Matthews Band to carry out the band's commitment to charitable works, both close to home and world wide. Bama Works has given to numerous nonprofit organizations, community programs and charities that work for environmental causes, human services, education, and the arts. Dave Matthews Band has also performed at a number of benefit concerts.

For more information about the campaign for City Center for Contemporary Arts, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please call (434) 293-7552 or visit

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