Walton Arts Center announces $1 million grant, new live music series

Artist rendering of a music performance in Walton Arts Center’s newly expanded Starr Theatre

Courtesy, Walton Arts Center

A new live music series is coming to the Walton Arts Center thanks to a major gift the organization received this week.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to the Walton Arts Center on Tuesday, and a majority of the money is intended to support a new series of concerts called West Street Live.

The series will include five multi-genre shows per year for live music fans in the newly renovated Starr Theatre. The idea is to create a nightclub-like atmosphere for the shows in order to create an intimate experience between the performers and the attendees, officials said.

A portion of the grant will also support the Walton Arts Center’s ongoing $23 million renovation and expansion project on Dickson Street.

Erin Rogers, public relations director for the Walton Arts Center, said the gift brings the center to $21.2 million raised, which is roughly 92% percent of the goal for the renovation.

“This commitment to underwrite new programming in the renovated Starr Theater and to support the program endowment will serve as a catalyst for Walton Arts Center.” said Peter B. Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center. “This transformational gift will allow us to create new and diverse musical offerings.”

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation made the gift in honor of trustee Neal Pendergraft for his years of service on their board. It’s the second major gift the foundation has announced this year in honor of Pendergraft. The foundation also donated $250,000 to the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation back in March.

“It is exciting to give back to our community, especially in an area we are so passionate about, live music,” Pendergraft said.

As part of this week’s announcement, the first five shows in the series were unveiled. They include Elizabeth Cook on Nov. 20, 2016; Kathy Mattea on Dec. 1, 2016; A.J. Croce on Jan. 12, 2017; Amy Helm on March 4, 2017; and Marcia Ball on April 20, 2017.

Tickets to the full West Street Live series are on sale now at the Walton Arts Center box office, and individual shows are expected to go on sale at a later date.

2016-2017 West Street Live Schedule

Elizabeth Cook – Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016

Kathy Mattea – Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016

A.J. Croce – Thursday, Jan. 12, 2107

Amy Helm – Saturday, March 4, 2017

Marcia Ball – Thursday, April 20, 2017