In A Nutshell:
The Center houses the performing arts, visual arts and the sciences under one roof – and is home to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. The Center includes: Maier Foundation Performance Hall, a 1,883 seat theater; Walker Theater, a black-box theater which can accommodate between 150 – 200 people; and the state-of-the-art Avampato Discovery Museum.
Why They Rock (arts/science/entertainment culture fiesta):
- Performance line-ups are filled with exciting theater shows, dance, comedy and popular entertainers like Jason Mraz, Tony Bennett, and Sheryl Crow
- With more than 9,000 square feet of gallery space, the art gallery houses the Museum’s Permanent Collection as well as important, large-scale traveling exhibitions like The Declaration of Independence Tour (arrived same day as 50Give).
- ElectricSky™ Theater: Films presented on a giant 61’ domed screen that take you on breathtaking journeys across Earth.
- Health Royale: larger than life animatronic game show – similar to Hollywood Squares which allows visitors to play along while testing their knowledge of basic health issues.
Pick A Headline:
“The Declaration of Independence Tour Collides with 50Give Journey”
“Mr.Belding from Saved by the Bell danced with 50Give”
“Sharks, Baby Turtles & Hissing Cockroaches all at the Clay Center?”
“Baseball Game, Fireworks, & Midnight Tour of the State Capitol”
“Tudor’s, WVA Power Bratwursts, and Vandalia Grille: 50Give Eats Local WVA”
50Give in West Virginia lasted less than 24 hours and from the headlines you can see my time was Wild, Wonderful, and Widiculous! The Clay Center provides first-class entertainment for the community, and their superb hospitability continued for a BIG night in Charleston – yes, Mr.Belding was in the house!
Straight in from Pittsburgh I received the Clay Center grand tour from my outgoing contact Boston Rob…performance hall, art gallery housing The Declaration the Independence (for one day), domed movie theatre, science exhibits, and I’m out of breath but there is more…Hollywood Squares set to teach healthy facts: the stars are giant organ puppets!
My first task was with laid-back Rachel for Membership Sign-Up in the grand foyer and LeAnn – Media Guru (cool article in Charleston Gazette) provided a spiffy 50Give flyer for our table, so I pushed volunteerism on visitors, and then tried to sell them the Family Membership…no family, we got military or fiesta level – something for everybody!
Off to the classrooms to meet chill-cat Katie and dance-fanatic educators. We prepared the room for Earth Day actives: Reusable Bags and Newspaper Potters…I love teaching young ones to respect the earth – useful things and not dioramas of Chewbacca that will be tossed (yes, dioramas are cool but are like throw pillows…why). The education crew also let me see all their pets that included hissing cockroaches…warning: this video hisses!
Then I joined track-star Lauren who is on-point for organizing special events…we walked around the whole facility preparing for Arts Alive (extremely talented students showcasing art/music/dance) and a private reception for the Declaration of Independence…hello prime rib with Aj jus – I wished restaurants would serve this as a beverage.
Closing time at Clay Center and Rob treated me to a WVA Power baseball game where the magic happened – we sandwiched Mr.Belding for a Saved by the Bell dance party! I also met kind-hearted Megan who dominated a fireworks dance and let me crash at her book-filled fun house, not before she gave a night tour with history lesson around the Capitol Building…absolutely gorgeous dome – Honest Abe made some photos. Early in the morning I was able to taste famous Tudor’s – I had a biscuit with lava cheese (almost jumped the counter to dunk face directly in vat).
Stop number 35 on the tour in the 35th state who entered the Union (thanks history buff Megan) was about education mixed with entertainment, which all originated from the vibrant Clay Center. When you walk into the Clay building there is a wowness mixed with inspiration…you get thirsty to absorb knowledge and at the same time want to be a star – for a kid this place gives permission to feel BIG, dream BIG, and most importantly inspires to bring that BIGNESS into the world!
“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”