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Volume 24, Number 10 — October 2017

Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU

<em>ETSU Today</em> magazine honors Mary B. Martin's legacy for the arts. (Credit: Absolute Communications)
ETSU Today magazine honors Mary B. Martin's legacy for the arts. (Credit: Absolute Communications)
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By ANGELA WAMPLER | A! MAGAZINE FOR THE ARTS | August 30, 2010

During her lifetime, Mary and her husband supported ETSU's Reece Museum, public radio station WETS-FM (89.5) and the college's Department of Chemistry. In 2009, after his wife died, Mr. Martin created a $1 million naming endowment to establish the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU.

Recently, Mr. Martin gave another $1 million gift to ETSU to provide additional resources for the school. The second million is considered an unrestricted grant and can be used more widely, unlike the original endowment. "After one year of watching the school form and watching things go, I thought I would like to see the school grow faster," Mr. Martin says.

Regarding Mr. Martin's initial donation to ETSU, Anita DeAngelis, director of the Martin School and associate dean of ETSU's College of Arts and Sciences, says, "He came to us wanting to name something for Mary. He had hoped the construction of a new fine arts facility would be in the loop. When he found out how long it would be before we would move up on the state appropriations list, he wanted to talk about other options. We told Jim about our efforts to create the School of the Arts and what that would entail. He liked the concept and created an endowment to name the school. The funding made it a lot easier to get the school off the ground and to reach several goals fairly quickly. Jim liked what we accomplished during the first year. He could see that his donation was truly impacting the arts in our community and some of the programs were beginning to provide benefits to our students, so he doubled his gift to us a year later."

"Mary Martin's legacy for the arts lives vibrantly and creates many possibilities for ETSU as an arts center and leader in arts education," according to ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton, Jr.

The annual earnings from Martin's endowment are used to ensure collaboration and coordination among the university's various arts programs, including the performing arts of music, dance, theater and storytelling, as well as the graphic arts, such as painting, sculpture, photography, digital media and more.

"Because these arts programs are housed in various departments within several different colleges [on campus]," Stanton explains, "we determined that ETSU needed to establish a stronger organizational structure to allow greater collaboration and coordination of activities while enhancing support for all of our arts initiatives. That is the focus of the university's Mary B. Martin School of the Arts so generously endowed by Mr. Martin."

According to Dr. Richard A. Manahan, ETSU Foundation President/CEO and Vice President for University Advancement, "The Martin School will be supported by interest earned on this benefactor's investment, augmented by subscriptions and ticket sales to arts events. In addition, the school is seeking support through corporate and other private sponsorship and gifts, and through external grants and contracts."

The Martin endowment enables ETSU to host an annual performance and exhibition series that brings performing and fine arts events to the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia/Western North Carolina region that normally would only be seen in major metropolitan areas of the United States.

Another objective of the Martin School is to "reach out to the communities of our region and build partnerships from these ETSU academic programs with other arts community and arts organizations," Stanton notes.

"We have several goals for the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts," DeAngelis says. "These include developing an annual performance and exhibition series and building partnerships among ETSU academic units as well as with the arts community and arts organizations throughout the Tri-Cities region (Tennessee/Virginia) and Western North Carolina."

DeAngelis adds, "The funding that this endowment provides is exciting for all of our arts areas. ETSU arts faculty, students and programs have provided the broader community with significant arts events over the years, and we often struggle to fund such activities. Mr. Martin is making it possible for us to bring additional high-caliber artists and performers to our community that we wouldn't have here otherwise."

In addition, DeAngelis says, "We're scheduling activities such as master classes and workshops out in the community. We have opportunities with all of these things to help the general community understand the arts a little bit better and participate with us a little more."

Approval for the creation of the Martin School was granted by several entities: ETSU's governing board; the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), which is the sixth largest system of higher education in the nation; and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which oversees both the TBR and University of Tennessee systems.

For more information about the ETSU Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, call 423-439-5673 or 439-5671 or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/arts.

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Recently, Jim Martin gave another $1 million gift to ETSU to provide additional resources for the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU. "After one year of watching the school form and watching things go, I thought I would like to see the school grow faster," Mr. Martin says.