The Center’s endowment fundraising efforts are led by Lloyd Jackson, former West Virginia senator from Lincoln County, with the support of many dedicated community members. Our shared commitment to this vital cause will reap benefits for this state and region many times over.

Help the Clay Center meet a specific community need by designating your gift to one of the funds below: 


Free Museum Admission for School Groups (Free Access) Endowment Fund
Help the Clay Center’s museum offer free admission to visiting student groups by contributing to the Free Museum Admission for School Groups Endowment Fund.

The Clay Center’s Avampato Discovery Museum stands among this country’s best art and science exhibitions and educational programs for communities of our size. Because of significant public funding, many museums are able to offer exhibitions at no charge to the general public. The Clay Center strives to take its place among these museums by providing free access to schoolchildren who visit on field trips. Eliminating admission fees for schools and their children will make the Center accessible to thousands of additional students every year.

Community Outreach Program Endowment Fund
Make the Center’s art and science programs available to all by contributing to the Community Outreach Program Endowment Fund.

The Clay Center is committed to developing the creative potential of all West Virginians. To accomplish this goal, the Center has initiated a new Community Outreach Program. This community-based, open-access instruction program in music, theater, media, visual arts and sciences focuses on providing opportunities to underserved audiences, specifically urban and rural youth and seniors. The long-range vision for community outreach is to build internal capacity and partnerships, which will offer private and group lessons; interactive workshops in the performing and visual arts and sciences to onsite and remote audiences; web-based training; master classes; summer academies; and lectures in the arts and sciences for adult audiences.

A previous $5 million gift has allowed the Clay Center to establish this Community Outreach Program endowment. This gift is specifically focused on providing music programs to West Virginians in remote areas of the state. With these initial funds, the Clay Center is providing music instruction to children in six counties who would not otherwise be able to afford to participate.

Endowment Fund for Arts and Sciences Education
Help the Clay Center provide enhanced educational programs to the schools and the general public, both onsite and at remote locations, by contributing to the Endowment Fund for Arts and Sciences Education.

West Virginia has an abundance of natural resources, but its most precious resource is its children. The benefits of the arts for young people have been emphasized in national studies on arts education. Exposure to the arts correlates positively with academic achievement in both math and science. Art education also enhances leadership skills, encourages creative expression, strengthens appreciation of reading and leads to increased participation in community service. Similarly, what children learn through the study of the sciences increases their abilities to become critical, independent thinkers, promotes communication and research skills, and hones conflict management strategies. Unfortunately in today’s educational climate, few schools devote precious resources to these important topics.

The Clay Center is in an excellent position to supplement arts and sciences education in West Virginia. Through summer and school-year programs, it gives disadvantaged children opportunities to make and play their own instruments, create murals showcasing themes of community identity or exhibit mixed media works in the Clay Center’s lobby. Thus, students are exhilarated through creativity while sensing pride for their accomplishments. Over 300,000 school children throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina have participated in these programs by visiting the Center. The Clay Center also provides training and other educational opportunities to teachers from school districts all across the region, focusing on hands-on learning techniques for the arts and sciences.

Additionally, the Clay Center’s distance education program was conceived to bring its arts and sciences programming to all areas of West Virginia and beyond. The Center has developed partnerships with NASA, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia and dozens of local school districts to provide quality programming that originates from the Clay Center and is transmitted to remote sites. Since the beginning of this distance education program, thousands of individuals have been able to experience the Clay Center without ever setting foot in its magnificent facility.

To sustain and grow its education programs for both students and teachers, the Clay Center seeks its endowment focused on enhancing our public schools’ 21st Century Learning Skills programs for the state’s students and teachers, both at the Clay Center and through our high-quality distance education programs.

Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts
Enhance the Center’s capacity to bring world famous performers and fresh new artists to our audiences by contributing to the Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts.

Outstanding artists such as Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson, Harry Connick, Jr. and James Taylor have played to sold-out crowds. Other featured performances have included the Harlem Gospel Choir, Bill Cosby, Vince Gill, John Legend and the Charleston Light Opera Guild production of Disney’s High School Musical.

The Performing Arts Program at the Clay Center adds a special dimension to the Center’s mission and differentiates it from other science and art museums or cultural centers around the country. The Center’s performances are attended by people throughout West Virginia and surrounding states. Many headline performers, however, command a substantial fee which, without subsidies, would increase ticket prices and prevent many local citizens from attending. The Center is creating an endowment to underwrite the expenses of performing artists to ensure affordable ticket prices.


The Everyday and Unexpected
Cover the expenses associated with daily operational overhead and deferred maintenance, and help the Center prepare for emergency situations, by making an unrestricted gift to the endowment.

Keeping an organization like the Clay Center operating every day requires considerable expenses for everything from maintaining the building and grounds to ensuring that enough staff members are available to serve visitors. Insurance and security for the Center’s art collection, caring for its permanent exhibits and cleaning more than 240,000 square feet of space are just a few ongoing expenses. The costs to bring in traveling exhibitions and performing headliners only add to the normal operating expenses.
There are also unexpected needs for emergency repairs. All together, these costs can mount up quickly. To have an adequate pool of funds to cover these daily operational costs and emergency needs, the Center requires an unrestricted endowment fund.

funding provided by: accessibility: find us on: contact us press room privacy statement email sign-up employment

WV Division of Culture and History WV Fund for the Arts national Endowment for the Arts

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