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February 2, 2017

Foundation's grant boosts Johnson Hall fundraising campaign

Jane's Trust Foundation, a Boston-based philanthropic trust, has given $75,000 in capital support for the Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center renovation project in downtown Gardiner.

The Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center is considered an important draw to Gardiner, as the city seeks to revitalize its downtown through infrastructure investment and incentive programs to bring in new business.

"This is the largest single competitive grant we have received in 30 years," Mike Miclon, executive artistic director of Johnson Hall, told The Kennebec Journal.

The newspaper reported that Jane's Trust Foundation is the latest benefactor to provide capital support for the project.

In September, Kennebec Savings Bank committed to donating $100,000 toward a $4.8 million fundraising campaign for the historic building's renovation of its top floor, and also committed to purchase all the tax credits the project has qualified for and assembled construction and pledge financing packages.

The theater was built in 1864 and is the oldest opera house in Maine that's still in use as a theater. It was last used regularly in the 1980s, the KJ reported. The theater currently hosts live music, comedy and theater performances in its 110-seat Studio Theater on the ground floor. Developing programming that's consistently popular was essential in making the case for renovating the upper theater.

Construction is expected to start next year, with a reopening in 2019.

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