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Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center receives $600,000 Antero donation

Exponent Telegram | October 6, 2017 | Darlene Swiger, Staff Writer  

CLARKSBURG — Officials with the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center held a donor appreciation night Friday that included the presentation of a $600,000 check from Antero Resources.

Waldomore was the setting for the event, which wrapped up the silent phase of the capital campaign for the center and kicked off the public portion of fundraising.

Ryan Tolley, executive director of the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center, said the event was a way to thank the individuals and organizations who supported the project for the past year and contributed nearly $2 million.

“We want to celebrate with those who share our passions and ideas. Together with the Waldomore, we want to create a cultural hub in downtown Clarksburg,” Tolley said.

Al Schopp, Antero’s chief administrative officer and regional senior vice president, became emotional as he talked about the generosity of Antero Resources employees.

“I have the best employees in the world. We’re home here. Our families are here. The Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center is for them and their kids and grandkids,” Schopp said.

“Everyone can take advantage of bringing the arts here to them with a regional focus,” Schopp said.

He thanked his wife, Joann, for her support and acknowledged the special relationships the couple has developed here in West Virginia.

“Antero is proud to support the renovation and restoration of the Robinson Grand,” Schopp said. “We place a high value on being good corporate citizens. We knew this was a natural match for us. This is about the entire North Central West Virginia region.”

The Performing Arts Center is scheduled for a May completion and a soft opening in June. The grand opening is slated for next fall, with a national headliner to be announced.

Tolley stressed that the center also will support the local community by hosting recitals, comedy shows, theatrical performances and educational opportunities.

Michael and Denah D’Annunzio, co-chairs of the Steering Committee for the Performing Arts Center, said they were happy to support such a worthwhile project.

“I was asked to participate about 18 months ago by Woody Thrasher. It was an easy sell,” Michael D’Annunzio said. “I am a Clarksburg native and Harrison County resident. It meant time, effort and energy, but so many people see what the impact would be and support it with their heart and their funding.”

Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe explained the funding and timeline for the $15 million project.

WYK Associates is the architect, with March-Westin as the contractor, for the project, which is on schedule and on budget, officials said.

Tolley explained there will be five ways to give during the public capital campaign. They include naming opportunities, seat sponsorships (there are 950 seats), memberships, programming sponsorships and online donations.

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