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University gives $100,000 to Arts Council of Princeton

The University will donate $100,000 to the Arts Council of Princeton to assist its $3.5 million capital campaign.

The Arts Council sponsors classes, workshops, film series, puppet shows and storytelling.

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The Arts Council and the University team up each spring for the Communiversity fair and on New Year's Eve for a "Curtain Calls" party. However, this is the first direct financial contribution of its kind, the Arts Council press release said.

"This is an organization in the community that has very close ties with the University and in which many students, faculty and staff participate," said Vice President for Public Affairs Bob Durkee '69. "We try, as a university, to help, whenever we can, in the life of the community."

The money will help fund a new addition to the Arts Council's Witherspoon Street building, said executive director Anne Reeves. Plans include a new gallery, 200-seat theater and "Communiversity room," which may be used for meetings and gatherings. Improvements to the current building will also help the Arts Council comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, the new addition will house a half-price ticket booth for area events.

The Arts Council said the addition will be designed by Architecture Professor Michael Graves. It should be completed by the spring of 1999.

According to Reeves, the University's contribution has helped the capital campaign reach the $1.6 million mark.

"I think this is quite splendid," Reeves said. "It's a very big gift to the community."

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While Reeves said the University's gift was not the Council's largest, she noted that the $100,000 was "a generous amount."

Student Involvement

Reeves added that students take advantage of the Council by taking classes and mentoring students with SVC. In addition, the Council has sponsored teaching workshops and presentations with the University's Program in Creative Writing.

According to Durkee, the new addition will benefit the University just as it benefits all Arts Council users. An expanded Arts Council facility may help the University jockey in the game of recruiting, Durkee said.

"To the extent that this is a community with these sorts of opportunities, it becomes a more attractive option for faculty and staff," he added.

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Even though this gift is the University's first to the Arts Council, Durkee said that the University contributes routinely to the community. For years, the University has given $80,000 to the Borough – in addition to its taxes. University money helps support Princeton's fire department and the Princeton Medical Center.

While the level of these contributions varies from year to year, Durkee said that he was not aware of how the amount compares with other universities' donations to their communities.

Reeves, a 25-year resident of the Borough, said she was grateful for the University's involvement.

"They give every day as far as I'm concerned, in one way or another," she said.

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