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Ballet gets $365K in grants for Church Street facility

The Andalusia Ballet Association is $365,000 closer to its $700,000 fundraising drive to complete renovations to the top floor after the announcement Friday of three grants for the project.

Meryane Martin Murphy, founder and artistic director of The Andalusia Ballet, announced the funding Friday to a group of dancers and parents gathered for a performance at the Ballet’s Summer Intensive.

The group has received a pledge of $200,000 from the local John and Grace Estep Foundation; $100,000 from the Daniel Foundation, and $65,000 from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Murphy said this is the second donation of $200,000 the Estep Foundation has made toward renovation of the building.

The Ballet Association moved into the building in the fall of 2011, after entering an agreement with the City of Andalusia in which the association contributed $500,000 to the renovation of the former Church Street Elementary School, and agreed to become the managing tenant.

The initial work included three studios, offices, dressing rooms and a board room on the middle (ground) floor, and basic work on the basement floor. The Ballet Association has since built out a kitchen and small event space, as well as costume storage.

The current project will develop the top floor a large studios and three smaller classes that can be used for arts-related classes, as well as restrooms and dressing rooms Already, the facility is home to piano lessons, yoga, Pilates and Barre Energy classes.

“The building deserves this attention, and our community deserves this,” Murphy said.

With the grant funding, the Ballet Association has raised $523,000 of the $700,000 it needs to move forward with the project.

Locally, fundraising continues with a brick and cornerstone campaign. Bricks are $100, and can be personalized with three lines and 15 spaces per line. Cornerstones can be personalized with six lines and 15 spaces per line.

For additional information, call the Ballet at 334.222.6620, or visit the website at www.andalusiasballet.com. Brick and cornerstone campaign forms also are available on the Star-News’ website.