GREENSBORO, Ga. — Festival Hall, Greensboro’s premier arts venue and cultural center was a recipient of the
Watson Brown Junior Grant for historic preservation for the 2019-2020 cycle.
The Watson Brown Foundation supports historicpreservation in part through its Junior Board of Trustees, a talented group of high school students that makes grant awards to worthy preservation projects in east central Georgia. The Junior Board is divided into three chapters: Milledgeville, Thomson and Athens. Each chapter awards $33,000 annually.
Festival Hall received a 60/40 matching grant from the Watson Brown Foundation to assist with the much needed painting of the exterior of the building. All of the wooden siding, doors, and windows were re-glazed and repaired (if needed) and freshly painted to preserve the structure. The bell tower and the marquis were also included. Wilson Painting was contracted to complete the work.
One of the requirements for this grant was to fundraise the 40% needed to complete the project. Festival Hall was fortunate enough to get renowned sportscaster, Tony Barnhart to donate his time and talents for an event this past fall, "Talkin' Football." In addition, Festival Hall received a donation from Georgia Senator Burt Jones, a former GA football player, who introduced Tony and his wife Maria. The Welch Family Charitable Fund donated money to provide tickets for local students to hear Barnhart's lecture. Chip Lyness of Dock 103.9 emceed the event. Coach Larry Milligan of Greene County High School provided the whiteboard for Barnhart's presentation.
In addition, Festival Hall received a Facade Grant from the Greensboro Downtown Development Authority and Foundation for the Future to fund the remaining cost of the project.
"It is so wonderful to have a community that can come together and support our precious historic buildings," stated director, Nicole Chillemi. "Festival Hall really needed to get this project completed to protect the integrity of our beautiful building. Thanks to the young men and women of the Watson Brown Junior Board, Tony and Maria Barnhart, and all who chipped in."
In 1970, Walter J. Brown established the Watson-Brown Foundation primarily to provide “college opportunities for underprivileged boys and girls.”
Named for Thomas E. Watson and J.J. Brown, the Foundation awards annually more than $2.4 million in merit and need-based college scholarships to students from a eighteen county region of Georgia and South Carolina. Walter Brown also set a precedent for preservation, especially as it related to the history of the South. Today, the Foundation owns and operates three historic sites in Georgia and explores history through the eyes of the men who created them. Finally, the Foundation operates a grant program that encourages responsible scholarship on the South and supports historic preservation. The Foundation is based in Thomson, Georgia, hometown of Thomas E. Watson.
For more information on Festival Hall, visit the website at www.festivalhallga.com.