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Donors to new Hagerstown arts school offered naming rights

Capital campaign for Barbara Ingram School for the Arts kicks off

Capital campaign for Barbara Ingram School for the Arts kicks off

April 04, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- What's in a name?

A chance to support the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

Hundreds of community leaders, philanthropists, parents and students attended a reception Thursday evening at The Maryland Theatre to learn more about the school, which is scheduled to open in 2009.

They were also given an opportunity to make a financial commitment in exchange for naming rights.

Donors will have their name or names of family and friends placed on a designated area of their choice, such as a rehearsal hall, dance theater or art studio.

They could also purchase equipment, furniture and computer software.

Each person attending the event was given a glossy brochure that offered dozens of opportunities for contributors.

"It's a unique way to support the school," said Cynthia Perini, president of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation.

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Thursday's event was the official kickoff of the foundation's capital campaign, she said.

"The purpose of the foundation is to meet and support the needs of the school," Perini said. "The Washington County Board of Education will meet the basic educational needs. But any school like this - in order to thrive - will have other needs. We are here to provide for those additional needs."

Perini said Thursday's event attracted people from the arts, education and business communities.

Parents and students were invited, she said, as well as representatives of every Washington County high school arts program.

"This is really an exciting evening for us," Perini said. "We've spent so many months getting organized, forming the vision of what we want to accomplish. It's wonderful to see the potential in our community and the enthusiasm that continues to grow."

"You can feel the energy tonight and the energy is all about the students and developing their potential," said Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, superintendent of Washington County Public Schools.

"This will be a high school, first and foremost, like any other four-year institution," she said. "But, in addition to strong academics, kids will have the training and opportunities to become experts in the arts. This will be a very special place."

Cindy Stevens of Hagerstown attended the event with her son, Nicholas, 18, who was performing with the South Hagerstown High School saxophone quartet.

Stevens said her son, who is a senior, is disappointed he won't be able to attend the school for the arts.

"He's planning on majoring in music in college and would have loved to have been part of this," she said.

"But it's wonderful for all the students who will have an opportunity to study here," she said. "This school is a long time coming. There are so many programs for kids who play sports. Now, there will be something for kids who love the arts."

Dale Bannon, director of system development with the Washington County Public Schools, said it was the foundation's goal "to do everything we can to help students be successful in the arts and education."

"With the support of the community, tonight is just the beginning," he said.

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