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$500,000 Grant moves NR Fine Arts Center closer to $1.2M goal

Excited does not quite describe the general feeling of the director of the Fine Arts Center and its board of directors when they learned from Gov. Timothy Kaine’s office that the New River Fine Arts Center will receive $500,000 in grant money.
In a move to help support economic development, provide clean and safe water to rural areas, create workforce educational programs, and cultural heritage tourism, Gov. Timothy Kaine announced Thursday, Jan. 7 that he has recommended more than $3.1 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funding for 16 projects in Southwest Virginia.
The New River Valley Fine Arts Center in Pulaski is tagged to receive $500,000 of this money, almost all of which is earmarked for the renovation of the former Rutherford Pontiac building located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Lee Highway in town.
In a news conference held Friday at the Fine Arts Center’s present location on Main Street, Gary Hancock, president of the board of directors said the grant money will "go a long way" in funding the renovation of the 12,000-square-foot former Rutherford-Pontiac building.
Hancock said that the completion of the project will have a long lasting effect on the community. He also thanked Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher for the formation of the Appalachian Regional Commission and Deborah Brown, director of the center’s capital campaign, and Judy Ison, executive director of the center, for “countless hours working on this grant.”
Deborah Brown said the grant money can be used as a leverage to generate more contributions and membership fees. To date, FAC has raised in excess of $300,000 which, when lumped in with the $500,000 grant money, will bring FAC closer to its goal of $1.2 million needed to perform the necessary makeover on the Rutherford building.
The Town of Pulaski and American Electric Power also have pledged $25,000 each toward the project.
“I’m so excited, I can hardly think,” exclaimed Judi Ison, who’s been FAC director for the past 12 years. She foresees more spaces that can be used for galleries, digital labs, studios and classrooms for different programs. “And more importantly,” she added, “I’d like to stress the fact that the Fine Arts Center belongs to the people – the community.”
Capital Campaign Committee co-chair Dr. Randy Vaughn, also at the news conference, stressed the importance of getting arts introduced at the “grassroots level,” when the children are still young and “not wait until they get older.” He noted that from various sources of information he’s gathered, the United States lags behind other developed countries like England and France in allocating money for the arts. He says that some people may regard arts as something frivolous and not as important as other aspects in living. “Art is the central thing; the fabric of civilization.”
Members of the Board of the Fine Arts Center believe that art is important to the life of the community and for the nourishment of human development. An excerpt from one of their brochures reads in part: “Our purpose is to foster an enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of the visual and performing art by the residents of the New River Valley, and to encourage and support its artists…”
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a federal-state partnership that works for sustaining community and economic development in Appalachia; assisting the region in achieving economic prosperity that more reflects the nation’s overall prosperity picture. Each year, the governor makes funding recommendations to the ARC for projects in Virginia’s Appalachian region.
The Rutherford building was donated to the FAC by Ann Rutherford Rooker and her husband Dennis in 2006. Until recently, it has been occupied by a body shop garage at the bottom and a home construction business on the top floor. An annex is also located on Fourth Street.

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$500,000 Grant moves NR Fine Arts Center closer to $1.2M goal

Excited does not quite describe the general feeling of the director of the Fine Arts Center and its board of directors when they learned from Gov. Timothy Kaine’s office that the New River Fine Arts Center will receive $500,000 in grant money.
In a move to help support economic development, provide clean and safe water to rural areas, create workforce educational programs, and cultural heritage tourism, Gov. Timothy Kaine announced Thursday, Jan. 7 that he has recommended more than $3.1 million in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funding for 16 projects in Southwest Virginia.
The New River Valley Fine Arts Center in Pulaski is tagged to receive $500,000 of this money, almost all of which is earmarked for the renovation of the former Rutherford Pontiac building located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Lee Highway in town.
In a news conference held Friday at the Fine Arts Center’s present location on Main Street, Gary Hancock, president of the board of directors said the grant money will "go a long way" in funding the renovation of the 12,000-square-foot former Rutherford-Pontiac building.
Hancock said that the completion of the project will have a long lasting effect on the community. He also thanked Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher for the formation of the Appalachian Regional Commission and Deborah Brown, director of the center’s capital campaign, and Judy Ison, executive director of the center, for “countless hours working on this grant.”
Deborah Brown said the grant money can be used as a leverage to generate more contributions and membership fees. To date, FAC has raised in excess of $300,000 which, when lumped in with the $500,000 grant money, will bring FAC closer to its goal of $1.2 million needed to perform the necessary makeover on the Rutherford building.
The Town of Pulaski and American Electric Power also have pledged $25,000 each toward the project.
“I’m so excited, I can hardly think,” exclaimed Judi Ison, who’s been FAC director for the past 12 years. She foresees more spaces that can be used for galleries, digital labs, studios and classrooms for different programs. “And more importantly,” she added, “I’d like to stress the fact that the Fine Arts Center belongs to the people – the community.”
Capital Campaign Committee co-chair Dr. Randy Vaughn, also at the news conference, stressed the importance of getting arts introduced at the “grassroots level,” when the children are still young and “not wait until they get older.” He noted that from various sources of information he’s gathered, the United States lags behind other developed countries like England and France in allocating money for the arts. He says that some people may regard arts as something frivolous and not as important as other aspects in living. “Art is the central thing; the fabric of civilization.”
Members of the Board of the Fine Arts Center believe that art is important to the life of the community and for the nourishment of human development. An excerpt from one of their brochures reads in part: “Our purpose is to foster an enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of the visual and performing art by the residents of the New River Valley, and to encourage and support its artists…”
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a federal-state partnership that works for sustaining community and economic development in Appalachia; assisting the region in achieving economic prosperity that more reflects the nation’s overall prosperity picture. Each year, the governor makes funding recommendations to the ARC for projects in Virginia’s Appalachian region.
The Rutherford building was donated to the FAC by Ann Rutherford Rooker and her husband Dennis in 2006. Until recently, it has been occupied by a body shop garage at the bottom and a home construction business on the top floor. An annex is also located on Fourth Street.

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