Liberty University pledged a major contribution on Wednesday, for the restoration of Lynchburg's Academy of Fine Arts historic Academy of Music Theatre.
The university will give $500,000 as a matching gift. The academy has a fundraising goal of $16.6 million.
The project includes restoring the theatre, and building a two-story connector between the theatre and administration building next door. The plan calls for expanding the lobby, gallery, concession, and meeting spaces.
"Liberty University actually took ownership of this theater in 1986 and had planned to restore it. Circumstances prevented us from completing the project in those days but we are thrilled to contribute now to a theater that will greatly enrich the cultural experience of both our students and the citizens of the Lynchburg area," said Jerry Falwell, Jr., Liberty University Chancellor, in a news release.
"This matching gift will go a long way in helping the Academy reach its $16.6 million fundraising goal," said David Jenkins, Executive Director of the Academy of Fine Arts, in the release. "It sends the message that the top leaders in this community recognize the importance of this restoration project to Lynchburg and the region. With the generous matching support this will trigger from our donors, this $500,000 will become $1 million."
"Our campaign has really picked up speed now that we've completed the silent phase and have publicly launched," said Beth Doyle, Director of Development of the Academy of Fine Arts, in the release. "To have the support of such a significant player in the community is just fabulous. This challenge will surely inspire others to contribute so that we can reach our goal."