The Academy of Fine Arts

The Academy of Fine Arts

The Academy of Fine Arts on Main Street in Historic Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia…

The Academy of Fine Arts was established through a merger between the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center and the Academy of Music in August 2003. The merger was the result of a plan to preserve the best goals and achievements of the two long-standing and respected arts organizations through the creation of a stronger financial and operating base for long-term support of the fine arts in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The 1905 Academy of Music Theatre, located in downtown Lynchburg, is one of Central Virginia’s most notable historic treasures of the last century. Now the only remaining of six original Academy of Music Theatres in the Commonwealth, this edifice boasted perfect sightlines, extraordinary acoustics, and was Lynchburg’s first fully electrified building. The theatre hosted landmark performances by artists who were vital to the evolution of the performing arts in America, such as George M. Cohan, Will Rodgers, Paderewski, and Ethel Barrymore, among many others.

For over 40 years the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center, formerly located on Thomson Drive, nurtured community talent in the disciplines of visual arts, dance and theater. We are proud to bring this rich tradition to the Academy of Fine Arts and look forward to a bright future.

With a plan to create a downtown fine arts center by 2010, the Academy of Fine Arts designed a complex that will include the restoration of the historic theatre and the renovation of two other historic buildings into an education center, art galleries, offices, lobbies, and open spaces. A flexible studio space for theatre productions, social events, and business meetings will complete the complex.

To be completed in two parts, Phase One (Arts Education Building and Studio Theatre) celebrated a grand opening in high style with a 2004 New Year’s Eve gala and dedication. Classes are now being held in our Arts Education Center and performances can be seen regularly on the stage of our Joy and Lynch Christian Warehouse Theatre. And area businesses, community arts groups are taking full advantage of our new state of the art spaces for a host of meetings, performances and events.

Phase Two (Historic Theatre and public spaces) is now underway. The Cornerstone Campaign is seeking approximately $25 million to complete this work. It continues to approach local, regional and national supporters for their gifts. It also anticipates significant funding from historic and new market tax credits as the project moves forward. Upon completion, the Academy of Fine Arts will be key component to the successful revitalization of Lynchburg’s historic downtown, bolstering its business environment, and enhancing the quality of life for Central Virginians.


Image: © 2010 D L Ennis, All rights reserved

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