Press Release

The Grand Opera House receives grant from Georgia Council for the Arts for Macon Art eXplosion

The Grand Opera House receives grant from Georgia Council for the Arts for Macon Art eXplosion 1200 600 Julia Rubens
Media Contact:
Julia Rubens
478-301-2933
ATLANTA – The Grand Opera House was awarded a grant by Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA), a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, as part of its initial disbursement of grants for fiscal year 2023. A total of 213 organizations were awarded 253 grants that provide more than $3.1 million in funding to arts organizations throughout the state. The Bridge Grant will provide operating support funding to 134 organizations, the Project Grant will help fund 59 arts projects, and the Arts Education Program Grant will be distributed to 60 organizations.
“The arts sector has proven its resilience over the last two years, and it has played a major role in restarting the economy through attracting tourism, bringing communities back together, and aiding classroom learning as we inspire the workforce of the future,” said Georgia Council for the Arts Executive Director Tina Lilly. “The 253 grants we have awarded will help cities and organizations bring people more back to work while enhancing the qualities that make Georgia so special.”
“Macon Art eXplosion aims to open The Grand in a more democratic way by exploding the venue with art in all corners of this historic facility and promoting artists without barriers,” said Director of Arts Marketing and Community Engagement Julia Rubens. “The first year of the festival, funded with just $1000 from an On the Table Macon micro-grant by Community Foundation of Central Georgia and Knight Foundation, was a joyous weekend of art and conversation. The festival allowed for dozens of new patrons to come into the theatre for the first time, three artists sold their first piece of art and at least one artist made over $1000 from the weekend. This Georgia Council for the Arts grant will allow for the opportunity to expand the festival further and open our doors wider.”
Funds awarded by Georgia Council for the Arts include appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) uses Peer Review Panels to judge and review applications following standard practices set by the National Endowment for the Arts. Panelists are GCA Council members and fellow professionals who are experienced in the arts discipline or type of grant being reviewed, or are citizens with a record of arts activities, experience, and knowledge. Grant recipients include theaters, dance companies, museums, cities, colleges, and multi-discipline arts entities. A complete list of fiscal year 2023 grantees in these program areas can be found here.
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About Georgia Council for the Arts
Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) is a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development whose mission is to cultivate the growth of vibrant, thriving Georgia communities through the arts. GCA provides grant funding, programs, and services statewide that support the vital arts industry, preserve the state’s cultural heritage, increase tourism, and nurture strong communities. Funding for Georgia Council for the Arts is provided by appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.gaarts.org for more information.
About GDEcD
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music, and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.

Frank Wood Named Executive Director of The Grand Opera House

Frank Wood Named Executive Director of The Grand Opera House 960 720 Julia Rubens

July 29, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Julia Rubens, rubens_ja@mercer.edu or 478-301-2933

MACON — Veteran arts administrator and Mercer University alumnus Dr. Frank E. Wood has been named executive director of Macon’s historic Grand Opera House, effective Oct. 17. He succeeds Joe Patti, who resigned in May to pursue other professional opportunities.

Dr. Wood, who was director of arts marketing and communications at Mercer from 1995 to 2001, currently serves as vice president for advancement at The College of the Florida Keys, and for the past 17 years has also served as executive director of the Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West, Florida. He previously served as executive director of the Key West Symphony Orchestra.

“Frank was appointed as Mercer’s first arts marketing director in 1995 when the University entered into a long-term lease with Bibb County to manage The Grand Opera House, and he has remained engaged with The Grand and Mercer as a loyal alumnus through the years,” said Larry D. Brumley, senior vice president for marketing communications and chief of staff. “He brings extensive arts management experience to this key leadership position, including a successful track record in programming, fundraising and community relations. I am very pleased that he is returning home to lead The Grand and its talented staff.”

Dr. Wood earned his B.B.A. and M.B.A. in marketing from Mercer’s Stetson-Hatcher School of Business, and has a Doctor of Business Administration from the Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.

His experience at The College of the Florida Keys also includes serving as dean of arts and sciences, business administration program director and faculty member and executive director of the Florida Keys Educational Foundation. He is a graduate of the Florida Chancellor’s Leadership Academy and its Master Teacher Seminar.

As executive director of the Tennessee Williams Theatre he has presented more than 270 concerts and national touring Broadway shows.

“I am excited about the possibilities and grateful for the opportunity to return to Mercer and The Grand. Both institutions hold a special place for me. I look forward to reuniting with the community and to presenting a variety of entertaining, high-quality performances for the arts patrons of Central Georgia,” noted Dr. Wood.

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. Buy tickets online at thegrandmacon.com or over the phone at (478) 301-5470.

Original Interactive Play about Pleasant Hill History and Future to Premiere at The Grand This Saturday

Original Interactive Play about Pleasant Hill History and Future to Premiere at The Grand This Saturday 1781 1416 Julia Rubens

A year-long process of participatory research and interviews will culminate in the first presentation of an original play about Macon’s historic Pleasant Hill neighborhood and the impacts of blight on Saturday, April 23 at The Grand Opera House, with 2:30 and 7:30 PM showtimes. Healing a Haunted House will take audiences on an interactive journey of the neighborhood’s past, present, and future, asking all Macon-Bibb citizens to ponder about the neighborhood’s restoration.

Supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly and with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, co-artists DSTO Moore, Nancy Cleveland, and Julia Rubens co-wrote Healing a Haunted House, primarily based upon interviews and found text from Pleasant Hill residents. Historic Macon Foundation contributed to historical research and advised the co-artists.

The workshop iteration of the play Saturday is just the beginning of Healing a Haunted House’s activity – the work serves to support and shine a spotlight on efforts towards neighborhood restoration by organizations like the Pleasant Hill Neighborhood Organization and the Community Enhancement Authority.

The play features multiple generations of Pleasant Hill history, including characters like famed volunteer Ozzie Bell McKay. The show highlights history behind currently blighted structures, such as Dr. E. E. Green’s home. The co-artists plan future arts-based interventions, like a youth-led temporary mural in an empty, blighted lot. These efforts seek to harness the civic imagination around blight and Pleasant Hill’s bright history to challenge citizens to contribute to solutions.

Both the 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM performances have limited capacity, due to the interactive nature of the performance. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and Mercer faculty/staff and can be found at thegrandmacon.com.

Featuring Tanya Arrington, Lakesia Cunningham, Casey Dupree, Marie Jones, Laura Lamoree, Sobe Thomas, and Nathalie Walker.
Key art by DSTO Moore

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.

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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Julia Rubens, rubens_ja@mercer.edu 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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Sarah Webster, (478) 301-2933 or webster_sc@mercer.edu

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.