The Country Music Association has pledged $10 million to Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here, the capital campaign designated to finance the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s expansion. The donation is the largest philanthropic gift in the organization’s history.
In 1961, the CMA Board of Directors approved the establishment of the Country Music Hall of Fame honor to recognize individuals for their contributions to country music. Three years later, they established the Country Music Foundation to build a museum and archives to preserve country music’s history. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 1967. Since then, CMA has contributed nearly $5 million to the Museum.
“CMA and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are connected by history and our shared interest in preserving the legacy, rewarding excellence, and advancing the future of the format,” Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said. “This donation is the latest example of CMA’s longstanding commitment to the Hall of Fame. We are proud to support the growth of the Hall and we look forward to using the CMA Theater in a variety of ways that will shine a spotlight on the Country Music industry and format.”
The Museum’s expansion will include the 800-seat state-of-the-art CMA Theater designed to be flexible and adaptable for a broad range of activities, from concerts and films to lectures and corporate meetings.
“Beyond the impressive amount of this gift, it represents a major milestone in the life and history of the place known around the world as ‘Music City,’” Museum Board Member John Seigenthaler said. “It reflects back on this community’s cultural history and the contributions of the Country Music Association and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as we envision a future enriched by our legacy as a center of music, entertainment, and tourism.”
“We are indebted to the CMA for a gift that serves our educational mission, benefits Music City, and serves a worldwide audience,” Museum Director Kyle Young said. “In Nashville, the CMA Theater’s seating capacity is unique and will fill a gap in available performance halls. It is sure to become a coveted venue for touring artists in many genres of music and it will be recognized as one of Music City’s cultural crown jewels.
The CMA Theater will feature a 500-seat main floor and two balconies of 150 seats each and will be able to hold audiences of 500, 650, or 800. The theater will also include a green room, band room, and four dressing rooms.
The Museum launched its $75 million Working on a Building campaign in late July with $56.8 million in cash and pledges already secured. The expansion, designed by Tuck-Hinton Architects, is expected to be completed in early 2014. Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson and Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford are honorary co-chairs of the campaign.