Press Release

Outdoor Pop-Up Theatre and Film Event at The Grand Highlights Georgians Living with Disabilities

Outdoor Pop-Up Theatre and Film Event at The Grand Highlights Georgians Living with Disabilities 1973 1409 Julia Rubens

June 23, 2021
Media Contact: Julia Rubens, or 478-301-2933

Outdoor Pop-Up Theatre and Film Event at The Grand

Highlights Georgians Living with Disabilities

MACON – A free outdoor film and pop-up theatre event called Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshowwill take place at The Grand Opera House this Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 PM. The event includes local celebrity hosts, food trucks, and storytelling that will feature 10 Georgians living and thriving with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The feature of the roadshow evening will be a screening of Treasure Maps, a film collage of experiences with an up-close and personal viewpoint into what it’s like navigating the complex webs of life in our communities as a person with a developmental disability. Themes include starting your own business, friendship, going to college, alienation and acceptance, dealing with the physical aspects of disability, and how transformative living a full inclusion life can be.

The show is touring in six cities across Georgia, and chose Macon as one of the spots to advocate and present the free performance. Appearing alongside StoryMuse Founder/Creative Director Shannon Turner is local co-host George McCanless, President/CEO of United Way of Central Georgia with show marshal Tamika Woods of River Edge Behavioral Health.

Before the show, there will be food trucks serving barbecue, shaved ice, and snacks, as well as music from BluePrint Productions and a moment honoring local music legend Newton Collier. Gates open at 7:30 PM with the show starting at 9 PM.

Irene Turner of the Treasure Maps team notes, “Watching these stories all together is so fun; they create a gorgeous patchwork quilt, revealing pieces of the beautiful complexity of what it’s like to live with a disability in this state.”

Treasure Maps is proudly presented by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and L’arche Atlanta. Free tickets can be reserved here.

The Grand Opera House is a vibrant community-assembly resource for all residents of Macon-Bibb County, as well as a draw for cultural tourism that significantly impacts the success of Macon’s downtown and corresponding economic vitality. It is our mission to nurture an appreciation of the arts in all citizens of Central Georgia, especially its youngest citizens, through attracting the presentation of quality productions as well as an immersion into a treasured architectural artifact that reflects 133 years of Macon’s history. And finally, as a performing arts center of Mercer University, the Grand Opera House seeks to champion excellence as the premiere theatrical venue in Central Georgia.

Joe Patti Named Executive Director of The Grand Opera House

Joe Patti Named Executive Director of The Grand Opera House 4880 3306 Sarah Webster

July 31, 2018


Media Contact: Sarah Webster, (478) 301-2933 or

PATTI Named Executive Director of The Grand Opera House

MACON — Veteran arts administrator Joseph Patti has been named executive director of The Grand Opera House, a performing arts center of Mercer University, effective Aug. 20. He succeeds Gram Slaton, who was recently appointed executive director of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center in New York.

A native of Orange County, New York, Patti for the past five years has served as director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. Prior to that he was theater manager for the University of Hawaii system for nearly nine years. He also has experience managing arts organizations in Florida and New Jersey.

Patti earned his undergraduate degree from Siena College in New York and has a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater management from Florida State University.

“Joe Patti brings outstanding financial management, programming, community relations and fund-raising skills to The Grand,” said George McCanless, chair of The Grand Opera House board of governors and president and CEO of the United Way of Central Georgia. “He has a reputation in arts management circles for creative and visionary leadership. Coupled with The Grand’s soon-to-be-completed major renovations Joe will help position the theater for a bright future.”

Patti has been a board member for the Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association and the Portsmouth Public Library System, is a grant panelist for the Ohio Arts Council, and has served on the professional development committees for Arts Midwest and Non Profit Technology conferences. He is active in Arts Midwest’s Creating Connection, a national movement with the long-term goal to make arts and culture a recognized, valued, and expected part of everyday life. For nearly 15 years he has been a regular contributor to a number of national arts management publications and websites. He holds memberships in the Ohio Arts Presenters Network, Americans for the Arts, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and Society of Arts Entrepreneurship in Education.

“I am energized by the possibilities afforded by the renovation of The Grand and the revitalization of downtown Macon,” Patti said. “There are burgeoning opportunities for the community to live, eat, express themselves and share experiences with family and friends. I feel fortunate to be joining The Grand at this exciting time.”

One of the Southeast’s great historic theaters, The Grand is undergoing $3 million in SPLOST-funded capital improvements. In the summer of 2017 new seating and carpet was installed throughout the theater, HVAC systems were upgraded and stage systems were enhanced. This summer the lobby is being renovated and enlarged, and when The Grand reopens in mid-October patrons will enjoy new and more spacious restrooms, additional pre-function space and two new bars.

See the original article on Mercer News.

Tickets on sale August 1! Check out what’s coming.

Our Title Sponsor: Mercedes-Benz of Macon

Our Title Sponsor: Mercedes-Benz of Macon 4928 3264 Sarah Webster

Mercedes-Benz of Macon, a division of Jackson Automotive Group, and The Grand Opera House, a performing arts center of Mercer University, today announced a new title sponsor agreement between the two entities. Starting with the 2018-2019 season in October 2018, The Grand’s Broadway season and all concerts of note will be included under the umbrella of “The Mercedes-Benz of Macon Great Performances Series at The Grand.”

“The Grand has been without a title sponsor for two seasons now, but in that time, we’ve gone through a great deal of positive change internally,” said Grand Opera House Executive Director Gram Slaton. “Having a title sponsor not only recognizes that and brings a greater financial freedom to our planning for the year ahead, it also provides us with a tremendous thumbs-up from an important member of the Middle Georgia business community and acknowledges the importance of live entertainment to all of us here, not only as a great way to spend an evening locally, but also as an educational tool, an economic stimulator for Macon, and as a tourism draw that attracts guests from around the world to our town and area. The Mercedes-Benz brand is exactly what we were looking for, as we emerge this coming fall from about $3 million of building improvements over two summers, and can offer our patrons a completely new and extremely high-end experience – doing for theatre patrons what Mercedes-Benz does for luxury car-brand fans.”

“Both Jim Jackson and I are both personally and professionally excited to create this great new relationship with The Grand,” said Mercedes-Benz of Macon General Sales Manager Gene Smith. “Jim Jackson’s leadership at Mercedes-Benz of Macon represents the third generation of Jacksons piloting the Mercedes-Benz brand in Middle Georgia, much as Mercer University’s management of The Grand is itself entering a third generation for this beloved theatre. We both feature top-notch service to our customers – Mercedes-Benz of Macon has won many awards for it, and The Grand’s reputation is equally up there for its superior treatment of its patrons. It’s just a natural fit, and a way for Mercedes-Benz of Macon to give back to this community we’ve been honored to serve since 1955.”

The Jacksons became a Mercedes-Benz dealer in 1976.

The sponsorship agreement between Mercedes-Benz of Macon and The Grand Opera House is for an initial three-year term. Patrons of The Grand Opera House can begin to expect linkages between the two entities, including in-store events and automotive showcases, beginning in the very near future.