CSU Foundation Donates Fine Arts Complex to State

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Columbus State University’s new downtown art and theatre complex was built entirely with private funds given to the CSU Foundation. Now completed and without debt, part of the complex is being given to the state, with the rest of the complex on track to also be turned over to the Board of Regents.

The property now housing the art and theatre complex was acquired by the Foundation’s real estate management arm, Foundation Properties, Inc. in November 2004 as part of a $1.25 million acquisition of the former Pillowtex Warehouse. The Foundation has invested $12.2 million to complete renovation of the former warehouse into more than 66,500 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms and gallery space, a facility now known as CSU’s Corn Center for the Visual Arts, home to the university’s Department of Art. The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted Wednesday to accept the gift.

The rest of the complex is new construction for the Department of Theatre, and not yet ready to be turned over to the state. When that does happen, it will mean the university system is the beneficiary of a world-class complex worth more than $31 million, all paid for from private gifts to the university’s recently completed capital campaign.

“The generosity of the Columbus community and CSU alumni led to the creation of this beautiful complex,” said Bill Reaves, chair of Foundation Properties, Inc. “The Corn Center for the Visual Arts is a real resource to the university and this region, and will indeed have an impact on the state through expanded cultural opportunities and the talented alumni who graduate from here. The CSU Foundation and Foundation Properties, Inc. are proud to have played a role in the development of this statewide asset.”

The Corn Center for the Visual Arts contains two galleries (one still to be developed); exhibit preparation and collection storage areas; nine art studios, including a photography classroom with several darkrooms; five kilns and two art critique rooms. Classes started in the center in January for approximately 150 students in the art department.

“Columbus State University and its foundations and supporters have been very generous in their commitment to facilities through gifts and public-private partnerships.” said Linda Daniels, vice chancellor for facilities at the Board of Regents. “Their work is helping to create a stronger education system in Georgia. The students and the state are ultimately the beneficiary.”