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Live Arts Lights Up in 2024!

Live Arts Lights Up in 2024!

Live Arts Theater is excited to announce $165,000 in secured funding to upgrade its 40-year-old theater lighting system for the Gibson and Founders Theaters and the Conover Studio.

The Perry Foundation, which invests in brick-and-mortar and equipment projects in the Charlottesville-Albemarle County area, provided half of the funds through a generous challenge grant. The remaining half of funds came from several long-time champions of Live Arts.  

Live Arts Co-Founder Thane Kerner spearheaded this lighting upgrade fundraising effort. Contributors included Wyn Owens, Jessica Nagle, Dorothy Batten, Kerner himself, and an anonymous donor.  

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Perry Foundation and these five community leaders who strongly believe in our vision of forging community and theater. They were involved in the building of our theater space in the early 2000s, and are committed to equipping it with the technology that volunteers need to create extraordinary theatrical experiences,” said Executive Director Anne Hunter. 

State-of-the-art lighting equipment will be ordered this month and installed in early 2024. Lighting designers and board operators who are interested in being trained on the new system are encouraged to reach out to

The upgrade coincides with the 20th anniversary of the opening of the 123 East Water Street building, owned by Charlottesville Contemporary Arts Inc. (a nonprofit) and shared by Live Arts, Second Street Gallery, and Light House Studio.  

“This long-overdue upgrade will create a more climate-resilient organization by lowering energy costs and shrinking Live Arts’ environmental footprint,” said Kerner. “It will help the theater rebuild its volunteer corps by attracting and retaining the next generation of lighting designers and board operators. It will provide more opportunities for volunteers to learn relevant, transferable tech skills. And it will encourage more sophisticated lighting designs, improving the audience experience.”

The project was years in the planning and informed by a seven-member Lighting Advisory Team: Live Arts Co-Founder Will Kerner (Thane’s brother); Lighting Designer Mark Schulyer; Master Electrician Heather Hutton; Technical Writer Kathi Minton; and Live Arts staff members Artistic Director Susan E. Evans, Technical Director Jeremy Pape, and Anne Hunter.   

About Live Arts 

Live Arts is a volunteer-powered, nonprofit community theater in Downtown Charlottesville. Founded in 1990, Live Arts is celebrating more than 33 years of forging theater and community. 

The 2023/24 Expectations Season is made possible by Elizabeth LeVaca remembering Joe LeVaca, C-VILLE Weekly, WTJU 91.1FM, Ting, and PJ Networks Computer Services. Shows are sponsored by Pamela Friedman and Ronald Bailey, The Caplin Foundation, Barbara and Jay Kessler, The Madwoman Project, Story House Real Estate, Woodard Properties, George Worthington and Cameron Mowat, Geri and Bruce Schirmer, and Miller and Lee Susen. Concession partners include Early Mountain Vineyards, Mudhouse Coffee, Albemarle Baking Co., Three Notch’d Brewery, and Bold Rock. The season is supported by philanthropic gifts by hundreds of theater lovers in the Charlottesville community.

Live Arts is supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the City of Charlottesville; and Albemarle County.

For More Information

Contact Marketing Coordinator Madison Weikle at and 434-977-4177 x103 or by cell at 540-447-4563.

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