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