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News from the Academy

Academy of Fine Arts receives grant from Lynch's Landing for Historic Theatre facade work

LYNCHBURG - (December 5, 2012) Today, the Academy of Fine Arts announced receipt of a $25,000 grant from Lynch's Landing, purposed to support the restoration of the historic Academy of Music Theatre's facade. This grant will facilitate preparatory work to the full Academy of Music Theatre restoration.

"The Academy of Fine Arts has established itself as an anchor in the James River Arts & Culture District through quality arts education programming, exhibits and performances," said Anna Bentson, Executive Director of Lynch's Landing. "As the last remaining theater on Main Street, the theater is an incredibly important historic and cultural landmark in our region. We believe that restoring this theater will serve as a magnet for continued economic development, serving as a stimulus in the development of Downtown Lynchburg as a retail, residential and tourist destination. It is our goal that this leadership gift will establish confidence in this project and move quickly towards making a significant, visible and lasting improvement to Main Street."

The funds from this grant will support critical components that will both enhance the visibility of the theater and improve the Main Street appearance - fabrication and installation of the historic canopy marquee, restoration of the blade sign, and other facade improvements.

"Lynch's Landing understands the importance of the Academy's restoration project to Central Virginia. We couldn't be more grateful for their support," said Beth Doyle, Director of Development of the Academy of Fine Arts. "This gift allows us to make vital preparations for the kick-off of our full restoration initiative, specifically to examine, stabilize and repair certain elements of the facade."

In the process of planning work on the theatre's facade, the Academy will also be cleaning out the original main lobby of the theatre so that the general public can regularly tour the theatre. "As is generally the case in historic theatre projects, very few people in this community have ever been inside of the Academy of Music or have any idea of how beautiful it once was" said David Jenkins, Executive Director of the Academy of Fine Arts. "They've never been able to feel the past or envision the future of this little jewel on Main Street. We're at the stage now where we want people of every age to walk in and say 'Wow, I had no idea.' These grants and donations are now going to make that possible." The historic 1905 Academy of Music Theatre has lain dormant since 1958, when the theatre's doors closed due to the rise of television and the flight from downtown to the suburbs. Restoration on the theatre's foundation and fly-tower was completed in 2010 with a plan to create a downtown fine arts complex, including the restoration of the historic theatre.

In the coming months, the Academy of Fine Arts will launch the campaign to complete the restoration of the historic Academy of Music Theatre as a state of the art performance center. The Academy of Fine Arts, anchored by the historic Academy of Music Theatre, inspires, engages and educates the diverse population of Central Virginia in the performing and visual arts.

Lynch's Landing is the leader for downtown revitalization, a nonprofit volunteer and partnership organization dedicated to the development and revitalization of Downtown Lynchburg. Our mission is to identify opportunities and develop resources to position and sustain downtown and the riverfront as a vital, economic, cultural, historic, recreational and residential center for our community. Learn more at

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