Carver family gifts $1 million to TheatreSquared capital campaign; grand opening set for August

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 1,966 views 

Dr. Joel and Linda Carver of Fayetteville have donated $1 million to the ongoing $34 million capital campaign to build a new venue for Fayetteville performing arts company TheatreSquared.

The Carvers’ donation will result in the permanent naming of the Carver Box Office at the new venue at the corner of West and Spring streets in downtown Fayetteville.

Half of the donation has been designated as a matching challenge gift toward naming the Robert C. Kohler Community Room, honoring the former TheatreSquared board president and founding board member.

Lynn Carver is the board chair of TheatreSquared.

“Joel and I are so proud to make this gift to TheatreSquared to support the first dedicated home for Northwest Arkansas’ resident professional theatre,” Lynn Carver said in a statement. “And, it’s a privilege to issue this challenge in memory of our dear friend, Bob. As our board gathers in that room, as kids take part in free workshops, as teachers train for in-school residencies, and as community groups take advantage of this open, public space — we will be able to honor Bob’s passion and legacy for generations to come.”

“This wonderful commitment toward the future of professional theatre in our region is deeply and sincerely appreciated,” TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford said. “And the Carvers’ choice to honor Lynn’s predecessor in the role of board president is incredibly meaningful. Bob Kohler’s energy and heart have continued to guide us even as his legacy takes visible form in both the company and the permanent home he is so fundamentally responsible for.”

Since TheatreSquared was founded in 2005, performances have been at the 300-seat Nadine Baum Studios, owned by the Walton Arts Center. The 2018-2019 season, which ended this month, was the final season of performances there.

Performances are scheduled to begin in the new theatre this August with “Shakespeare in Love.” London-based theatre planners Charcoalblue and New York-based Marvel Architects designed the 50,000 square-foot, two building, two-venue site. It houses two state-of-the-art theatres, the Walker Rehearsal Room, offices, education and community space, design workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, and an open-all-day café/bar.

Outdoor areas on each level — a patio on Spring Street, a second-level terrace on West, and a rooftop deck — reinforce the organization’s ethos of transparency to the community.

Little Rock-based Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. is the contractor. You can read more about the project at this link.

A TheatreSquared spokeswoman did not say how much of the $34 million capital campaign has been raised, but additional details about the fundraising effort will be released next week.

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