Leaders Closer to Restoring Historic Theater in Lynchburg

Lynchburg, VA - The historic Academy of Music theater in downtown Lynchburg is inching closer and closer to a full restoration. But they need help to finally open those doors.

Thursday, the Academy of Fine Arts launched a campaign to finish the project. They're confident this is going to happen sooner than later. But the director says his hope is to have the theatre reopened in less than years.

It's a project many have waited anxiously on.

"I've had my hands folded tightly and I know it's going to happen," said Keith Lee, with the Dance Theatre of Lynchburg.

Though it seems like not much progress has been made, it has.

"I'd say 20% of the restoration of that theater has been done, but nobody can see it from the street," said David Jenkins, executive director of the academy.

The stage and fly tower have been restored. They're used to lower performers onto the stage from above.

So what's different about this campaign launch compared to past ones? Director David Jenkins says it's not the campaign, it's the city.

"Downtown Lynchburg is different."

He says the recent growth in restaurants, lofts, and overall business shows people are coming downtown.

"This town is ready for this," he said.

A restored music theatre will not only bring entertainment but jobs and increased revenue to the city.

Catherine Mosley, Region 2000 quoted former Mayor of Baton Rouge, Woody Dumas--"The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself, so let's buy some insurance."

There's just one missing ingredient: Money.

"There's someone out there that has a wealthy uncle Fred. Is Fred here?" said Jenkins.

The academy still has to raise $16.6 million to finish the theatre. They hope that someone watching this can help find the funding to finish the project.

Find out more information about the restoration and how you can help on the theater's website.