Originally created 11/23/05

Campaign ends with hefty sum for arts center



The Aiken Center for the Arts completed its three-year fundraising campaign by surpassing its $1.5 million goal, organizers announced last week.

Some of the money already has helped pay for remodeling the second floor to the downtown center, doubling its usable square footage to 22,000 feet.

Twice the space means that much more room to showcase local artists and provide additional classes, said Kristin Brown, the executive director of the center.

"Needless to say, every time you walk into a new facility, it's exciting," she said.

The number of galleries available to showcase local artists has grown from one to five. With seven classrooms, the center has doubled the number of programs it offers to more than 60. Its 180-seat, second-floor "multimedia" auditorium, complete with a 13-foot-by 9-foot screen and surround-sound speakers, has made the center's current film series that much more exciting, Ms. Brown said.

Any of the center's rooms can be leased by the public. The center's new auditorium has been rented by the Aiken Opera Society and the University of South Carolina Aiken, which used it for a satellite simulcast and computer presentations, according to a press release from the center.

Ms. Brown said that the organization is not satisfied with what they've accomplished. In fact, the center is trying to create a $500,000 endowment to pay for operating costs at the facility and is a fifth of the way there.

"With the new facility completed and equipped, we now must ensure it is kept in top-notch condition well into the future," said Bill Reynolds, the president of the arts center's board of directors, in a prepared statement.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.

INTERESTED?

To learn more about programs, art and events at the Aiken Center for the Arts, call 641-9094.