The Country Music Association has pledged $10 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s capital campaign Working On A Building: Country Music Lives Here, which will help finance its expansion to over 350,000 square feet. The donation is the largest in the Hall of Fame’s history.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 1967, and the CMA has supported it with contributions of nearly $5 million since then, including a $1 million endowment to the Hall’s education program Words & Music. The Country Music Hall of Fame honor was established in 1961 by the CMA, which voted in 1964 to establish a museum and archives for country music through the Country Music Foundation.
“CMA and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are connected by history and our shared interest in preserving the legacy, rewarding excellence, and advancing the future of the format,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “This donation is the latest example of CMA’s longstanding commitment to the Hall of Fame. We are proud to support the growth of the Hall and we look forward to using the CMA Theater in a variety of ways that will shine a spotlight on the Country Music industry and format.”
Included in the expansion will be the 800-seat state of the art CMA Theater, which will be used for concerts, films, lectures, and corporate meetings. The room will boast a 500 seat main floor and two 150-seat balconies, as well as a lobby entrance connecting to the Omni Hotel and access from the Music City Center.
“Beyond the impressive amount of this gift, it represents a major milestone in the life and history of the place known around the world as ‘Music City,'” said Museum Board Member John Seigenthaler, founder, First Amendment Center. “It reflects back on this community’s cultural history and the contributions of the Country Music Association and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as we envision a future enriched by our legacy as a center of music, entertainment, and tourism.”
“We are indebted to the CMA for a gift that serves our educational mission, benefits Music City, and serves a worldwide audience,” said Museum Director Kyle Young. “In Nashville, the CMA Theater’s seating capacity is unique and will fill a gap in available performance halls. It is sure to become a coveted venue for touring artists in many genres of music and it will be recognized as one of Music City’s cultural crown jewels.”
The Museum launched its $75 million Working On A Building campaign in July 2011 with $56.8 million in cash secured. The expansion is expected to be finished in 2014.