COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A piece of Columbus history is asking for donations after they say they cannot continue to keep their doors open without the community’s support.
On Wednesday, Dr. S. Anderson, Executive Director of The Liberty Theatre, delivered a State of the Liberty Theatre address.
Anderson gave attendees a glimpse into the inner workings of the day to day operations of the facility as well as a current look at the status of the theatre, which in her words will not survive beyond a minimum of two more years unless major funding is acquired.
Anderson says that for many years, the theatre has managed 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 Address, the historic theater also kicked off its own #ThisPlaceMatters campaign; a national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities.
As one of just three historic African American theatres in the state of Georgia, leaders say the Liberty Theatre & Cultural Center is certainly a place that matters, and one that Columbus cannot afford to lose.
Leaders say the Liberty’s #ThisPlaceMatters campaign will be the catalyst for a $1,000,000 fundraising campaign needed to give the Liberty a jump start on facility repairs and other matters.
According to leaders, the initial fundraising is just a starting point though. They say they will ultimately need roughly 8 to 10 million dollars in order to remodel the facility, secure full time staff, clear debts, and be able to set funds aside to ensure long term sustainability.
Leaders say they want to keep the theater open “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”
For more information or to support the theatre with a donation or membership, please visit the Liberty Theatre website here.