Ground was officially broken last Friday on East Tennessee State University’s long-awaited Center for the Arts.
Earlier in the day, the ETSU Board of Trustees voted to name the facility the James C. and Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts. The late James C. Martin pledged the lead gift of $3 million toward the facility in 2013 as fundraising efforts began. Also, James Martin’s daughter, Sonia King, allocated an additional $1 million to construct the facility.
Martin’s giving to the university totals approximately $7 million, which includes the initial gift that established the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU in memory of his wife in 2009.
“This is a historic day for ETSU as we realize a dream that began more than a quarter-century ago,” said ETSU President Brian Noland. “It is also a day that we honor the legacy of members of the Martin family and the powerful way in which they have transformed the arts on this campus and in this region.”
The center, located next to the Centre at Millennium Park on West State of Franklin Road, will be a home for many of ETSU’s arts programs. The $53 million facility will include performance, instructional and teaching space, as well as a performance hall with seating for 1,200 guests.
Funding for the arts center was made possible through a state appropriation, private donations and a partnership with the City of Johnson City.
“My family has always loved the arts, and I am so proud of the impact on the university and surrounding region that has been possible through their support,” Sonia King said. “It means so much for me to be able to continue their legacy and mission and to help make arts education and performances more accessible to students and the public well into the future.”