LBWCC celebrates improved arts center

Published 1:31 am Saturday, September 4, 2010

LBWCC celebrated the expansion of the Martha and Solon Dixon Center for the Performing Arts on the Andalusia campus yesterday.

The college recently completed a project which more than doubled the size of the facility’s foyer and changed the entrances to the auditorium.

Martha Dixon, center, cuts the ribbon celebrating the expansion of the performing arts center bearing her name. She is assisted by chamber baord members Janna McGlamory and Debbie Marcum. Shown behind them, from left, are H.D. Edgar, Earl Johnson, Mark Dooley, Hazel Griffin, Lisa Riedel, Dr. Herb Riedel, Doris Tyler, Louisa Mann, and Phillip Jones.

The project was funded through a partnership with the Dixon Foundation.

“It took a long time to get it fixed like we wanted it,” Martha Dixon said. “But we finally did it.”

Doris Tyler, president of the Dixon Foundation, said, “We would be remiss not to mention the benefactor, Mr. Solon Dixon, joined by his wife Martha, for the generous contribution they made some 27 or 28 years ago that made the construction of this facility a reality.”

The Performing Arts Center originally was made possible by a gift of more than $500,000 by Solon and Martha Dixon and a $550,000 grant from the Alabama Building Commission. At the time, it was the largest individual gift ever given to a two-year college in Alabama.

“In a statement made at the groundbreaking ceremonies for this facility, Mr. Soon was quoted as saying, ‘I have really searched my soul to find the best possible way to help people of Covington County. I have been interested in the arts and I finally reached the decision. Martha and I want to help in building the performing arts center here on the LBW campus.’ “

It was always his intention that the arts center be very modern in all respects, she said.

“Well, here we are today, and this facility is still modern in every respect, as Mr. Solon stated,” Tyler said. “And it is still providing the services for the college and community as was intended. Martha can attest to the fact that Mr. Solon would be very pleased.”

Mayor Earl Johnson expressed his thanks to Mrs. Dixon and members of the Dixon Foundation.

“Thank you for this wonderful facility,” Johnson said. “These improvements will add to our enjoyment of events here for many years to come.

Johnson, who is fond of quoting Sir Winston Churchhill, said that during World War II, the former prime minister of Great Britain encouraged residents to do what they could to save London’s great buildings that were being bombed by the Germans.

“He said, ‘We shape our buildings, then our buildings shape us,’

“As a performer and a member of the audience, this facility has had an impact on my life,” he said. “This is a wonderful, wonderful thing you have done and we look forward to many, many happy occasions in this new facility.”