Our View: Commitment opens the arts on grand scale
The announcement of a planned yearlong renovation of Appalachian State University's Farthing Auditorium — fueled by a $7 million donation from Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer of Blowing Rock — is more than good news for performing arts in Watauga County. When renovations are finished, the newly named The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts will not only enhance the experience of performances, but, more importantly, will open the venue to a wider audience by addressing issues of accessibility and safety for patrons.
The plan, upon completion, is to “bring the venue up to the excellence of the artists,” Bonnie Schaefer said.
That's a tall order, given the caliber of performances that have tread Farthing's boards in the last 36 years, but given the raw materials already in place, it's an order that should see fulfillment when the building is unveiled in June 2013.
The Schaefers have ever been friends of the region and ASU, and their stewardship is important to the mission of the university. Knowing that their most recent gift will add polish to an ASU jewel, and support the nationally recognized An Appalachian Summer Festival, is a winning combination for the university and our community that will well position our culture of arts for the next four decades and beyond.