Stuart's Opera House
Stuart’s Opera House (photo:

Stuart’s Closing In On Capital Campaign Goal

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Stuart’s Opera House recently received significant support for its capital campaign, with the Athens Foundation and the Athens Rotary Foundation each pledging $50,000. The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has also pledged $5,000.

The Next Stage Campaign, an expansion and improvement initiative, was publicly launched July 25 by the Opera House. Through expansion as well as improvements to the existing facility, this initiative will increase Stuart’s education and production capabilities, add to the ability to host private events and receptions and improve the overall experience for the opera house’s patrons.

The education and production programs will utilize the previously unused space in the adjacent building at 30 Public Square. Also planned is the establishment of an operating endowment that will provide financial support for generations to come.

“This support is significant, because it demonstrates that we are viewed by community and business leaders as an important asset to this region,” stated Stuart’s Executive Director Tim Peacock. “We are grateful to these organizations for recognizing what we do here at the Opera House.”

Campaign Co-chairman Rick Oremus agrees, and he added that this generosity comes at a critical time.

“We are closing in on our goal, but this is the toughest part of the campaign. We still need individuals and businesses to step up and help us close out the effort. It is vital; there is no other way to put it,” he said.

Stuart’s has received overwhelming community support from many businesses, foundations and individuals. With these three most recent pledges, Stuart’s surpasses the $3.2 million mark. Roughly $800,000 is needed to reach the capital goal of $4 million.

“We are delighted to be where we are, but $800,000 is still a lot of money,” Oremus said.

Athens Foundation Executive Director Susan Urano thanked Stuart’s for all it does in the community and added “your accomplishments are remarkable, and we wish to support you on this journey.”

Karen Harvey, president and spokeswoman for the Athens Rotary Foundation, also spoke highly of Stuart’s.

“I want to commend you [staff] for the outstanding job that you and others associated with the Opera House have done in your efforts to improve and sustain the future of this important asset to the city of Nelsonville and Athens County. We are pleased to be able to contribute to your efforts,” she said.

Stuart’s Opera House is the cornerstone of the Public Square in Nelsonville and has been a part of this Southeastern Ohio town since the coal mining boom of the 19th century. For the past 10 years, the Opera House has seen growth, prosperity, culture, and fun; today, Stuart’s is recognized as the premier performing arts center in Southeast Ohio.