American 1 Credit Union and Jackson School of the Arts “go way back.” According to Jackson School of the Arts Executive Director Kim Curtis, “American 1 Credit Union was our first Corporate Sponsor. It began when American 1 chose us as the benefactor for the funds raised by their high school talent competition called American 1 Teen Idol. Our partnership began in 2007 and has continued to grow since then.”
Kim Curtis and Martha Fuerstenau, President and CEO of American 1 Credit Union, jointly announced this morning that American 1 is making a $100,000 contribution to the Jackson School of the Arts Capital Campaign for a Dynamic Arts Center. The $3 million-dollar campaign will give the Jackson School of the Arts the room it needs to grow by breathing life into the iconic Masonic Temple in downtown Jackson. Jackson School of the Arts, which provides nearly 100 lessons in the arts per week to 1,500 children and teens annually, has entered into a partnership with the City of Jackson to lease the historic Masonic Temple for its new home. Interior renovations to create studios, family areas, restrooms and performance facilities will be the responsibility of Jackson School of the Arts, while exterior infrastructure such as roofing and windows will remain under the responsibility of the City as the property owner. “Our programs have grown so large that we are out of space in our current facility. Our new home will be part of the redevelopment of downtown Jackson, making the arts a big part of the revitalization of this area,” explained Curtis.
Former State Senator Phil Hoffman and current Chairman of the American 1 Board of Directors shared the Board’s sentiments on the contribution, “Our Board has felt strongly about the need for families and children to have access to lessons in the arts for a very long time. What we like so much about the Jackson School of the Arts, is that their students come from a wide cross-section of families in our community. Many people don’t know that 79% of students attend on scholarships, which are based on family income. We’ve long recognized that the Jackson School of the Arts is a true jewel for families in Jackson and the surrounding communities.”
The size of the gift is a reflection of the multifaceted benefit that this campaign offers. “A beautiful historic building is being brought back to life and will serve as a center of activity downtown. We are pleased to invest in the education of children, the preservation of a landmark, and the redevelopment of Jackson. We’re thrilled that this gift can be part of helping all of that to happen,” remarked Fuerstenau.
The Campaign for a Dynamic Arts Center is at 58% of the campaign goal. The gift from American 1 Credit Union has been designated to renovate the space in the building that will be used by parents and children who are waiting for a child who is attending a class. There will be space for siblings to do homework and play, as well as room for parents to relax or work on their mobile devices. The family area will also provide classroom space where parents can gain knowledge in budgeting, parenting, and other life skills.