Liberty Theatre Receives $50,000 Historic Preservation Grant from Fox Theatre Institute

Columbus, GA, November 4, 2019 – The Liberty Theatre is pleased to announce the Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) has awarded the venue with a $50,000.00 historic preservation grant that will be used toward a complete replacement of the roof. Atlanta-based FTI is the Fox Theatre’s dynamic outreach program offering historic preservation expertise, consultation and education to performing arts venues in Georgia and the Southeast. As one of just three historic African American theatres in the state of Georgia, the Liberty Theatre & Cultural Center is certainly a place that matters. Telling the Liberty's story and creating conversations about its significance and the importance of preserving cultural landmarks is integral to the Liberty's future. The ongoing #ThisPlaceMatters campaign will help to do this. This recent award from the Fox Theatre Institute will be used toward a total roof replacement once the remaining funds have been secured. Brassfield and Gorie has done some work on the theatre side of the facility that has stopped further damage from happening. Scott Laye, Operations Manager with Brassfield was on site for the walk through with Liberty Theatre staff and Leigh Burns, Executive Director of the Fox Theatre Institute.

Elizabeth Walden, Executive Director of Historic Columbus, said “The Liberty Theatre has been an integral part of the Columbus community and its history since the theatre opened its doors in 1924.  Historic Columbus is beyond thrilled for the Liberty to receive this grant.  It is an important step in beginning the next phase of renovation work for the theatre.  We are so excited for the future of this significant cultural landmark building.”  

Once threatened and saved itself by caring community members, the Fox Theatre created FTI, fostering a strong sense of togetherness, empathy and insight that remains visible through its ongoing work. FTI pays it forward by helping other cultural institutions renew, reinvigorate and restore artistic vitality by offering financial assistance, restoration support and operations mentoring needed to leverage scarce resources and stimulate local economies.
“For over a decade, the Fox Theatre Institute has worked tirelessly to save and resurrect historic theaters throughout our state,” said Adina Erwin Vice President and COO of the Fox Theatre. “These historic landmarks hold immense cultural and economic significance in their communities, and we are passionate about ensuring these exceptional performing arts centers will be here to serve future generations.”
 

FTI’s Preservation Grant Program and Historic Preservation Services maintains an ongoing commitment to historic theaters and has supported 64 projects to date, totaling more than $1,580,817 in maintenance and physical improvement efforts. The program raises and awards funding to venues with projects designed to foster education through performing arts. The nonprofit organization also manages Georgia Presenters, a statewide booking consortium, which helps spark collaboration among dozens of accomplished arts presenters.

“Our donations and guidance extend beyond the physical repair of the buildings we serve,” said Leigh Burns, director of Fox Theatre Institute. “It inspires communities and acts as a catalyst for positive change in each neighborhood we touch.”

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About the Fox Theatre Institute

The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) is a dynamic outreach program offering historic preservation expertise, consultation and education to performing arts venues in Georgia and the region. Created by Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, an iconic attraction widely applauded for being a catalyst for positive change in the community, FTI pays it forward, helping other cultural institutions renew, reinvigorate and restore artistic vitality in their backyards and beyond. Keeping environmental and economic impact top of mind, FTI offers the financial assistance, restoration support and operations mentoring needed to leverage scarce resources and stimulate local economies. Not only that, but it keeps the artistic pulse of beloved communities beating for decades to come. FTI was recently featured on NPR’s Marketplace for its substantial impact on historical theatre restoration and community building throughout Georgia and the Southeast. For more information, visit www.foxtheatreinstitute.org.

 

About the Fox Theatre

Kicking off its 90th year celebration in 2019, the Fox Theatre is one of Atlanta’s premier venues for live entertainment, welcoming more than 250 performances a year in its 4,665-seat theater. From rock concerts and Broadway productions to ballets, comedy and movies, the historic venue attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually. The theater also boasts more than 10,000 square feet of private event space, hosting wedding receptions, trade shows, corporate meetings and association functions in its fabulous ballrooms, lounge and outdoor terrace. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization, the Fox Theatre stands today as a fiercely protected landmark and a nationally acclaimed theater. The Fox Theatre proudly acknowledges its partners for their generous support: Coca-Cola, Lexus, Georgian Terrace Hotel, Georgia Natural Gas, Atlanta Beverage-Yuengling, Regions and Grady Health System. Tickets for all events are available at the Fox Theatre Ticket Office, online at FoxTheatre.org or toll free at 855-285-8499. Group sales information is available by calling 404- 881-2000 or visiting the Fox Theatre website. Stay connected with the Fox Theatre on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and by using the hashtag #AtTheFox.  

 Notable accolades: No. 1 non-residency venue worldwide for the decade by Billboard Magazine; 2018 “Top Stops Worldwide” by Venues Now magazine; top three of Pollstar magazine’s 2018 Worldwide Ticket Sales; 2017 “Theatre of the Year” by the International Entertainment Buyers Association

 

Liberty Theatre Hosts On the Table Chatt Event

The Liberty Theatre & Cultural Center, Inc. was excited to again participate in this year's On the Table Chatt on Tuesday, October 22nd from 6pm-8pm. Across the city on Oct. 22nd starting as early as 7:00am, organizations were hosting conversations about the topics that mean the most to our community. We had a great time discussing the many good things happening in our community as well as the improvements we hope to see in the near future. Through a variety of small group conversations and activities, we made new friends and identify ways to take the things we're doing well in our city and create more strategic, unified efforts to begin to tackle some of the serious issues that plague our community. The Liberty Theatre provided a taco bar for attendees, and food was also donated by Janelle Chambers of Nelly’s Fruits & More and Niecy’s BBQ. The event moderator was Felicia Hamilton (iHeart Radio), and table hosts included DJ Chip (iHeart), AP The Midday Diva (98.3 The Beat), Darrliena McDonald (Salon DM Squared), Alan Ross (community advocate/leader), Keke Alexander (community advocate). Addie Britt, transportation planner w/ the city, and volunteer Samantha Lawton assisted Liberty Theatre staff w/ planning the event. One of the many take aways from the evening is that conversations like this should be happening much more frequently. The more than 25 community conversations that took place on the 22nd are an indicator that our community really does want to come together to communicate, WORK, and ultimately begin to solve some of the challenges our community faces. There is a great deal of work to be done. Pointing fingers and shifting the responsibility of it all won’t accomplish much. Let’s get to work, Columbus!

Did you participate in a #chattchat on yesterday? Drop a comment and tell us about your experience!


State of the Liberty Address Announcement

Executive Director to Hold State of the Liberty Address    #ThisPlaceMatters Campaign Kick Off   Columbus, GA, July 11, 2019– On Wednesday, July 17th at 10:00 am Dr. S. Anderson, Executive Director of The Liberty Theatre, will deliver a State of the Liberty Theatre address. At this time, Anderson will share the current status of the theatre as well as a glimpse into the inner workings of the day to day operations of the facility which has somehow managed, for many years, to operate primarily off venue rentals. However, in order for the facility to continue to operate, be fully restored and thrive, a major fundraising initiative must take place. In conjunction with the State of the Liberty Address, the historic theatre will also kick off its own #ThisPlaceMatters campaign; a national campaign sponsored by the National Trust for Historic places that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities. The Liberty’s #ThisPlaceMatters campaign will also be the catalyst for a 1-million-dollar fundraising campaign to give the Liberty a jump start on facility repairs and other matters. Memberships are one way the community can continue to support the theatre; attendees may join on the 17th or visit the website to purchase a membership. Memberships are good for one year from date of purchase.    According to  savingplaces.org ,  “As you spread the word, make sure to use the    #ThisPlaceMatters hashtag   . People around the world are sharing photos of the places they hold dear. But this campaign isn’t just about photography. It’s about telling the stories of the places we can’t live without. Through This Place Matters, we hope to encourage and inspire an ongoing dialogue about the importance of place and preservation in all of our lives.”   As one of just three historic African American theatres in the state of Georgia, the Liberty Theatre & Cultural Center is certainly a place that matters. Telling the Liberty's story and creating conversations about its significance and the importance of preserving cultural landmarks is integral to the Liberty's future. The #ThisPlaceMatters campaign will help to do this. Without a short term plan for facility needs, operating dollars and both short and long term plans for sustainability, the theatre will be another piece of local culture lost due to lack of resources and disrepair. While venue rentals are a wonderful service the facility prides itself on being able to offer the community, rentals are also not designed to be a primary funding source for day to day operations.    Anderson initially made a difficult decision to tender her resignation from the role of Executive Director on last week due to the seemingly insurmountable challenges that come with operating a facility that does not have a guaranteed source of operating dollars. However, she later rescinded her resignation via the following email:    *****  Good Evening,    After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided to rescind my letter of resignation. On behalf of Black families who could go nowhere else for entertainment during the days of segregation; Ma Rainey, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson and entertainers who couldn’t get on just any stage to perform, the brides and other people who rent the Liberty for their special events, the people we serve via our free community programming and after school program, the struggling playwrights who rent the theatre, the young adults who lend their artistic talents to the theatre, the many volunteers and unsung heroes who help keep things afloat and help hold the facility together, and the city at large- I have decided to take a stand and fight for the Liberty. Giving up is not what I do. However, keeping the doors open simply can’t be done without the community.... -Shae  *****    The initial fundraising is a starting point; ultimately, though, in order to remodel the facility, secure full time staff, clear debts, and be able to set funds aside to ensure long term sustainability, it is estimated that 8 to 10 million dollars will be necessary to stabilize the theatre and ensure that long term maintenance, etc. can take place.      Attendees are invited to take selfies and group photos in front of the building and inside using props and posters that will be available. They will also be invited to record short videos about what The Liberty Theatre means to them. The official campaign hashtags are #ThisPlaceMatters and #LibertyTheatreMatters.  # # #  If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Shae A. Anderson at (706) 653-7566 or via email at  dr.shae@libertycolumbusga.org .

Executive Director to Hold State of the Liberty Address

#ThisPlaceMatters Campaign Kick Off

Columbus, GA, July 11, 2019– On Wednesday, July 17th at 10:00 am Dr. S. Anderson, Executive Director of The Liberty Theatre, will deliver a State of the Liberty Theatre address. At this time, Anderson will share the current status of the theatre as well as a glimpse into the inner workings of the day to day operations of the facility which has somehow managed, for many years, to operate primarily off venue rentals. However, in order for the facility to continue to operate, be fully restored and thrive, a major fundraising initiative must take place. In conjunction with the State of the Liberty Address, the historic theatre will also kick off its own #ThisPlaceMatters campaign; a national campaign sponsored by the National Trust for Historic places that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities. The Liberty’s #ThisPlaceMatters campaign will also be the catalyst for a 1-million-dollar fundraising campaign to give the Liberty a jump start on facility repairs and other matters. Memberships are one way the community can continue to support the theatre; attendees may join on the 17th or visit the website to purchase a membership. Memberships are good for one year from date of purchase.

According to savingplaces.org, “As you spread the word, make sure to use the #ThisPlaceMatters hashtag. People around the world are sharing photos of the places they hold dear. But this campaign isn’t just about photography. It’s about telling the stories of the places we can’t live without. Through This Place Matters, we hope to encourage and inspire an ongoing dialogue about the importance of place and preservation in all of our lives.”

As one of just three historic African American theatres in the state of Georgia, the Liberty Theatre & Cultural Center is certainly a place that matters. Telling the Liberty's story and creating conversations about its significance and the importance of preserving cultural landmarks is integral to the Liberty's future. The #ThisPlaceMatters campaign will help to do this. Without a short term plan for facility needs, operating dollars and both short and long term plans for sustainability, the theatre will be another piece of local culture lost due to lack of resources and disrepair. While venue rentals are a wonderful service the facility prides itself on being able to offer the community, rentals are also not designed to be a primary funding source for day to day operations.

Anderson initially made a difficult decision to tender her resignation from the role of Executive Director on last week due to the seemingly insurmountable challenges that come with operating a facility that does not have a guaranteed source of operating dollars. However, she later rescinded her resignation via the following email:

*****

Good Evening,

After prayer and careful consideration, I have decided to rescind my letter of resignation. On behalf of Black families who could go nowhere else for entertainment during the days of segregation; Ma Rainey, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson and entertainers who couldn’t get on just any stage to perform, the brides and other people who rent the Liberty for their special events, the people we serve via our free community programming and after school program, the struggling playwrights who rent the theatre, the young adults who lend their artistic talents to the theatre, the many volunteers and unsung heroes who help keep things afloat and help hold the facility together, and the city at large- I have decided to take a stand and fight for the Liberty. Giving up is not what I do. However, keeping the doors open simply can’t be done without the community.... -Shae

*****

The initial fundraising is a starting point; ultimately, though, in order to remodel the facility, secure full time staff, clear debts, and be able to set funds aside to ensure long term sustainability, it is estimated that 8 to 10 million dollars will be necessary to stabilize the theatre and ensure that long term maintenance, etc. can take place.

Attendees are invited to take selfies and group photos in front of the building and inside using props and posters that will be available. They will also be invited to record short videos about what The Liberty Theatre means to them. The official campaign hashtags are #ThisPlaceMatters and #LibertyTheatreMatters.

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Shae A. Anderson at (706) 653-7566 or via email at dr.shae@libertycolumbusga.org.

Juneteenth Committee of Columbus Hosts Annual Celebration in Historic Liberty District

Though not particularly familiar with Juneteenth festivals, the Juneteenth Committee of Columbus and it’s chairperson – Tea Grimes had a vision back in 2017. Having researched Juneteenth extensively over the years, the group knew a family style celebration of the special day had to happen right here in Columbus, GA. While the look of Juneteenth celebrations across the country varies greatly, they all share a common mission - “to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.”

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Soul of My Footprint Hosts Meet & Greet Fundraiser at Liberty Theatre w/ Mayor of Jinja Uganda, Africa

Alfie Jelks founder of Soul of My Footprint and his Board of Directors in partnership with Cook Dental Care recently hosted a fundraiser at the Historic Liberty Theatre to introduce the Mayor of Jinja Uganda and raise funds for the hospital they are building in Jinja. A bit more about Alfie and this amazing venture can be found below.

As found on: www.tsomf.org

Minister Alfie B. Jelks, the second child of three siblings who were reared in a single parent home by their mother, Laura West,was born March 14,1968 in Tuskegee,AL. He has one son. Alfie attended schools in the Muscogee County School District,having graduated from Kendrick High School in 1986. He continued his education at Chattahooche Valley Community College with an AS(1995) in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Troy University with a BS(2005) in Theology. and a MDiv 2015 Great Plains Baptist Divinty School On November 9,2009, Alfie was commission in the United States Army Reserve as a chaplain.

 

In 2000, he began his humanitarian journey to Jinja,Uganda with only one credit card, no sponsors, and no personal ties to anyone there; needless to say, this task was simply faith-driven. Seeking to literally clothe the naked. feed the hungry, and teach and preach faith and hope to the  weary and downtrodden, Alfie made a second trip to Africa in 2001. He made additional trips in 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 , but not before getting the city of Columbus and surrounding areas involved. As a result, over one thousand pairs of shoes were donated to the people of Jinja, Uganda.

 

Alfie opened Alfie's African Treasures in June 2001, selling rare and unique African artifacts and greek/fraternal paraphernalia. Because of the quick success of the boutique, Alfie created other avenues to impact the city by creating Alfie's African Treasures' Annual Cultural Show, creating a stage for African Americans to display their gifts and talents and for the youth to be exposed to culture. As a businessperson, Alfie has been tremendously exposed to the Muscogee County Schools by going into schools and other organizations teaching the audiences about African culture. Some of  his local contributions include Boys and Girls Club, Big Brother Big Sisters of Columbus, Wellness Center, Columbus State University's African Student  Organization, Black History Museum, and the Anne Elizabeth Shepherd Home.

 

His mantra is " People should desire to be great and not just successful, because great people serve others, while successful people only serve themselves."

Rho Rho Omega Chapter of AKA Presents Community Service Awards to Dr. Shae Anderson (Liberty Theatre) and Mr. Warren Williams (GW Carver High Band Director).

The Rho Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority hosted it’s 21st Annual Pink Ice Ball - A Salute to the Harlem Renaissance. at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. The decor was beautiful, Jamysa”Hummingbird” Lytes and her band sounded amazing, and attendees completely embraced the evening’s Harlem Renaissance theme. The room was filled with beautiful people. Dr. Shae Anderson and Mr. Warren Williams received awards for their Community Service in the Arts. Madam Regional Director Carolyn Gause Randolph was presented with a ‘Salute to Harlem Renaissance’ garden art piece created by artist Najee Dorsey.

Photos: Colson Photography

Local Radio Corporations Collaborate to Help Liberty Theatre Kick Off Membership Drive

Some amazing community partners decided to come together for an awesome cause!! They are helping the Liberty Theatre kick off their first membership drive. Seeing all of the major radio corporations come together to support an important cause was amazing. The Liberty Theatre wants to extend a heartfelt thanks to iHeart Radio, Davis Broadcasting, Inc., and PNB Radio for their commitment to this cause.

#CollaborationOverCompetition

Najee Dorsey Donates Limited Edition Prints

Huge thank you to Najee Dorsey for donating 10 20x44 Limited Edition Liberty Legends prints to The Liberty Theatre in conjunction with his recent mural unveiling at The Mildred Terry Library. And thank you to everyone who has supported this project thus far: Dr. & Mrs. Woodrow McWilliams, III, Tamika McKenzie, Dr. Albert Holloway, Robin Trimarchi, Gwen Ruff, and Rep. Calvin Smyre. There are just 4 left! Please call the office at (706) 653-7566 and let us know if you would like one.

Najee.jpg