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News from the Academy

Lynch's Landing and Academy of Fine Arts awarded grant from Virginia Main Street for Historic Theatre facade work

LYNCHBURG - (January 23, 2013) Lynch's Landing and the Academy of Fine Arts have been awarded a $25,000 grant from Virginia Main Street to support the restoration of the historic Academy of Music Theatre's facade. Capping the $25,000 challenge gift awarded to the Academy by Lynch's Landing in December, and two private matches, the grant from Virginia Main Street totals $100,000 in support of facade restoration.

"As the last remaining theater on Main Street, the Academy of Music Theatre is an incredibly important historic and cultural landmark in our region," said Anna Bentson, Executive Director of Lynch's Landing. "Virginia Main Street joins us in the belief 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 these leadership gifts will establish confidence in this project and move quickly towards making a significant, visible and lasting improvement to Main Street."

The Virginia Main Street Program is a community economic development program that follows the Four Point Approach™ of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street Center.  Virginia Main Street (VMS) offers a range of services and assistance to meet the many needs of communities interested in revitalization. Downtown Improvement Grants are designed to offer communities the ability to complete a Main Street-related project for which financial resources are not otherwise available.

"Nationwide, state main street organizations have long played a leadership role in the rebirth of historic concert halls, and that's clearly the case with Virginia Main Streets and this generous donation," said David Jenkins, Executive Director of the Academy of Fine Arts.

The competitive grant program was scored on several factors including measurable economic impact at both local and regional scale, demonstrated connection to a community economic development plan, leveraging of partnerships and additional funds and local government involvement or support

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.

"This grant helps fund the early stages of a much needed community project, one that will help electrify Downtown Lynchburg's public image and trigger a growth in retail foot traffic, attraction of new businesses and the number of people who choose downtown as their place of residence," said Jenkins. "It isn't just about culture and business, though. It's about establishing a very unique sense of place. Creating a memorable urban atmosphere, which makes you a destination that people want to visit time and time again.  And when that happens, the benefits are felt by every corner of the community."

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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