Partnership envisioned for library, performing arts center

Mar. 13, 2014 @ 06:14 PM

John Wester sees a dynamic relationship between the performing arts center that will soon take shape on Breckenridge Street and Perry Memorial Library.

On Tuesday, he shared his vision at the quarterly meeting of the board of trustees of the Perry Memorial Library Foundation.

Wester, president of the board of the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation, said collaboration might include a theater production in the performing arts center, augmented by print or digital materials located in the library.

Or a community event could hold its large sessions in the auditorium of the performing arts center and breakout sessions in the library.

He said an executive director will be hired to promote locally-produced programs, to seek funding through grants and to provide day-to-day administration of the facility.

Construction on the performing arts center will get under way shortly, Wester said.

“We expect about 12 to 14 months of construction,” he said.

H.G. Reynolds, a local construction company, is the general contractor for the job.

The performing arts center will be connected by a lobby to the library, forming a single facility that will be known as Breckenridge Commons.

Wester described Sam Watkins, who died recently, as the driving force behind the Embassy project.

Gloria Watkins, a member of the library foundation board, was at the meeting. Board Chairman Wayne Adcock extended his condolences and asked the board to observe a moment of silence in memory of Sam Watkins.

In other business, Cynthia Walker, chairwoman of the Perry Memorial Library board of trustees, reported that Patti McAnally, the former youth services librarian, has been appointed new library director. Jennifer Brax, adult services librarian, was appointed assistant library director.

McAnally reported on progress in upgrading the library’s wireless system and listed events scheduled for the spring and summer. She described a collaboration in which the library will provide space for Vance County Historical Society exhibits.

Treasurer Tonya Kilgore reported on the foundation’s financial status.

The next meeting of the library foundation board will be held on June 3.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.