TAYLOR PLEDGES $4 MILLION TO FUND NEW EDUCATION CENTER @ COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
Six-time Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift
has pledged $4 million to fund a new education center at the Country Music
Hall of Fame(r) and Museum. The more than 7,500-square foot space, which
will encompass parts of two floors and feature three classrooms and a
state-of-the-art children's exhibit gallery, is scheduled to open in early
Swift's gift is the largest capital contribution by an individual artist in
the museum's 45-year history, prompting the museum to name the new space the
Taylor Swift Education Center. The gift was made in conjunction with
Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here, the capital campaign that
will finance the Country Music Hall of Fame(r) and Museum's expansion from
140,000 square feet to more than 350,000 square feet.
Swift has for years been a generous supporter of the museum, performing for
the institution's 2007 All for the Hall New York, 2009 We're All for the
Hall and 2010 All for the Hall Los Angeles benefits. She has also loaned
the museum dresses, stage costumes and instruments for display; a
free-standing, Taylor Swift multimedia exhibit has been one of the museum's
most popular attractions since its debut in May, 2010.
"Taylor Swift represents country music's best traditions," said
Museum Director Kyle Young. "She is a gifted singer-songwriter whose deeply
personal songs resonate with music fans around the world, and a dynamic live
performer whose open heart and engaging personality allow her to make even
the largest stadium shows an intimate experience. Her many accomplishments
- including being the youngest artist to single-handedly write and sing a #1
country song - have made music history, and she has been an ambassador for
country music, raising awareness of our genre literally around the globe.
"Taylor is an artist who has always been ahead of the curve," Young
continued. "By stepping forward to fund our education center, she has once
again demonstrated that she has an eye on our industry's future. We are
deeply indebted to Taylor for this wonderful gift, which will help us
continue to fulfill our educational mission and serve our worldwide
audience. It is not an overstatement to say that the Taylor Swift Education
Center will have a profound impact on our museum, our new campus, our city
and even our country. It will truly be the heart of our living museum,
educating and inspiring young people and families, teaching them country
music history and helping them to make meaningful connections between the
music and their own lives."
The new education center will increase the museum's educational capacity up
to seven-fold and will include three classrooms and a children's exhibition
gallery. On the third floor, two traditional classrooms and one "wet"
classroom space will be used by museum educators for current educational
offerings, including the museum's flagship program, Words & Music; distance
learning programs; and family programs such as the Musical Petting Zoo. The
"wet classroom" will feature a utility floor, lending itself to the museum's
Make Letterpress Art with Hatch Show Print family program and similar
(messy) offerings. The additional classroom spaces will also allow the
museum to develop new educational activities, potentially including
after-school programs, teen-centric programs, multi-week workshops for
youths, adults and senior citizens, and more. Additionally, the classroom
spaces will be adjacent to a visible storage area and design studio; this
space will feature thematic displays of artifacts, e.g. dozens of banjos,
and allow students to observe museum curators at work. The children's
gallery, situated on the second floor, will be a dedicated exhibit space for
young patrons and will be filled with hands-on, interactive exhibits.
With Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson and Ford Motor
Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford as honorary co-chairs, the museum
launched its $75 million Working on a Building campaign in July 2011 with
$56.8 million in cash and pledges already secured. Designed by Tuck-Hinton
Architects, the expansion is expected to be completed in early 2014.
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