Donation to Historic Lynchburg Theatre Boosts Restoration Efforts

Lynchburg, VA- The Academy of Fine Arts has gotten a boost in its efforts to restore Lynchburg's historic downtown theatre. They received a grant from Lynch's Landing for $25,000, which they've matched with a grant of their own.

We looked into what you can expect to see done with this money. The leaders at the Academy of Fine Arts say you'll be seeing that money go to work in the next couple months. First on the to-do list, they're giving the historic building's fa├žade a facelift.

"We will be using these funds right away," said Beth Doyle, Director of Development for the Academy of Fine Arts.

"There used to be a marquee, a canopy originally and then a marquee. And you can see now it's not there anymore. So part of the grant will go towards fabricating a new marquee," she said.

The money will also help restore the iconic blade sign on the side of the building.

"It's a big step to show we are getting underway on finishing the project," said Doyle.

Doyle says they're hoping this facade facelift will serve as a pick-me-up to donors.

"We have some really generous donors that we've worked with through the years that have contributed to this project and are continuing to do so, so that we can get this project finished."

But there's no real timeline, or budget for the project at this point. There's still too much uncertainty, because design plans haven't been finalized. The Academy has to bring the theatre up to today's building code standards, while still preserving its historical integrity. Until they have their final designs, they won't know how much it will cost.

"We don't have final numbers for that yet and so the campaign committee, the fundraising committee, hasn't been able to set their goal," said Doyle.

Despite the uncertainties, the community is still rallying around this theatre, in hopes of an audience filing into the lobby for a performance, and money filling the pockets of local business owners.

"We don't see it as an arts project, we see it more as an economic development project," said Doyle.

Doyle says the Academy will be able to announce some hard numbers in the coming months when the restoration plans are completely drawn up, and the campaign committee can do some number crunching.