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$35 million Columbia County Performing Arts Center a ‘game changer’

Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 11:33 PM EDT|Updated: 23 hours ago
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The 85,000-square-foot, $35 million Performing Arts Center in Columbia County is set to be finished by early 2021, county officials say.

Scott Johnson, Columbia County manager, says it’s been about eight years since the project’s early conception.

“The Performing Arts Center is the anchor for our new downtown,” he said. “It’s going to draw people in the area on a regular basis, and with that, we’re going to see additional restaurants, additional shopping. It all kind of plays to the quality of life that we’re trying to provide for our folks here in Columbia County.”

Actors like Donte Muse are equally excited for the opening.

“Opportunity is the biggest word I would say. That’s really all an actor or any kind of talent wants, is like, opportunities. If there’s more places to actually audition for and be on stage and be seen, you don’t know who’s going to come through that door,” said Muse.

He hopes the center will get more kids interested in theater.

“Just having a building like this is going to get kids to maybe have a field trip, or get their first opportunity to perform on stage if there’s some kind of production there. And they don’t have to feel like they’re at a lesser place or something because this is a huge building and a nice, amazing environment,” said Muse.

The center will bring more opportunities to local talent like Muse, but will also feature guests from all over the world.

“We will have events that are local, absolutely. I mean this venue is a local venue. We want to have the local talent here. At the same time, we want to bring talent from all over the country, all over the world here to Evans and to the area,” said Matt Jameson, venue manager.

County officials say COVID-19 has put a slight halt to things. Once construction is complete, they will need to wait until performers are open for bookings to begin the first performances.

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