Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer, owners of Westglow Resort & Spa in Blowing Rock, are well-known names for anyone familiar with An Appalachian Summer Festival. Since 2007, the Schaefers’ generous corporate sponsorship has enabled the festival to make significant improvements to the quality and diversity of its popular music programming.
The Schaefer’s generosity will once again enhance the arts at Appalachian State University by helping it to achieve a long-held dream: the renovation of Farthing Auditorium. A $7 million commitment from the Schaefers will support the refurbishing of Farthing Auditorium and provide continued resources for the popular music series during An Appalachian Summer Festival. The refurbished venue will be named The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.
This new gift is among the largest single gifts ever made to Appalachian, which launched the $200 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Appalachian, in October 2011 to improve academics, athletics and the arts for current and future students.
The refurbishing of Farthing Auditorium will address issues of safety, accessibility, and enhancement of the performance experience. Among the planned improvements are the installation of an elevator to provide access to the mezzanine and balcony seating areas, improvements to the venue’s acoustics and sound system, re-sloping of the floor on the main level to optimize audience visibility, improved access to seats, a mechanized orchestra pit, additional restrooms, and cosmetic upgrades to the lobby and performance hall.
Renovations will begin at the conclusion of An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 2012 season, with completion set for June 2013. Campus events typically scheduled in Farthing Auditorium, including the 2012-13 Performing Arts Series, will be staged in other venues across campus.
Farthing Auditorium is the university’s primary performance location and serves both campus and the community. It was built in 1976 and seats 1,734.
“We love our community, we love the arts and we love the university,” said Bonnie Schaefer who serves on An Appalachian Summer Festival’s advisory board and who recently was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university.
Her partner, Jamie Schaefer, said, “It gives us great personal pleasure to support this program. If it brings everyone as much pleasure as it does us, it’s a win-win… We feel very honored to be the next generation to continue the legacy established by Arnold and Muriel Rosen and other founders of An Appalachian Summer Festival.”
Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer are members of the Campaign for Appalachian Steering Committee. In addition to their longtime support of the arts, the Schaefers have also supported the university’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies and the Leon Levine Distinguished Professorship.