One Fine New Home for the Fine Arts

With song, dance and other fanfare, Averett celebrated the grand opening of Phase One of its new home for the fine arts on February 18, 2014.

“This is truly a great day for Averett University students, and for the community which we are so proud to serve,” said Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks in her remarks to several hundred guests. “Welcome to your newly renovated and beautifully expanded fine arts center.”

Dr. Franks thanked the donors and the construction companies who made the renovations possible. Then, with the help of a video, she unveiled a new name for the building: The Violet T. Frith Fine Arts Center, in honor of Averett alumna Violet T. Frith ’52, whose lead gift of $1.25 million was the catalyst for the project.

The Phase One renovations include a dramatically expanded lobby that provides enough seating and dining space for 100 people. The same space can also host an art exhibition with enough standing room for 400. With the addition of this elegant new space, Averett will now be able to host dinner theatre events and special receptions for performers; to stage gallery exhibitions for students and for visiting artists; and to provide a gathering space for the arts community unlike any other in Danville. In addition, the facility is outfitted with an upgraded heating/air conditioning system, first-floor restrooms, new stage curtains and an orchestra pit.

As Jackie Finney, Professor of Theatre, put it, “This building is now an asset not just to the Theatre Department, but to the entire Averett community and the surrounding region.”

Just 30 donors, including Violet and Ray Frith, provided all of the funding for the $2,300,000 project. Other major donors included The Alexander Berkeley Carrington, Jr., and Ruth Simpson Carrington Charitable Trust; the estate of Barbara Floyd; Bon Appétit; JTI Leaf Services; L. Dudley and Elizabeth M. Walker; and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative.