CHESTER – The Chesterfield Center for the Arts has a new donor Dr. and Mrs. Baxter Perkinson Jr. stepped up to help the Center...

CHESTER – The Chesterfield Center for the Arts has a new donor Dr. and Mrs. Baxter Perkinson Jr. stepped up to help the Center move closer to its goal. Dr. Perkinson and family will contribute to the center’s foundation building fund and pay for some of the operation costs once it has opened.

Today, (Aug. 24, 2016), the Board of Supervisors will consider renaming the future arts center in Chester the Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts.

“Dr. Perkinson Jr. and his wife Elaine have pledged an extremely generous donation to the Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation. According to the background information as part of the renaming request, Mr. Baxter Perkinson, Sr. provided many years of service to Chesterfield County throughout his lifetime. The Perkinson family has contributed greatly to the community, and it is requested that the arts center and gallery be named after the family in recognition of their generosity in improving the quality of life for the residents of Chesterfield County.”

“The final design for the 20,000- to 22,000-square foot Center will be finished in September. Final pricing should be available in October, with construction expected to start in mid-to-late November. The building is slated to take 12 to14 months depending on weather,” said Hugh Cline, Chairman of the Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation. “The center will have a 350-seat performing arts theater, a multi-purpose room for smaller events, weddings, conferences and meetings; and an adjoining outdoor patio. A separate art gallery with an additional outside entrance will have classrooms, box office, and all other necessary support areas. The center will have approximately 250 on-site, well-lit parking spaces that will be shared only with the library.”

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Perkinson and his twin brother, Ivan, have been involved in the arts as painters for years,  and it stands to reason the family would make the donation.
Bermuda Supervisor, Dorothy Jaeckle, in whose district the center is to be located, is very excited about the pledge.

“I was so happy for the Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation that they found such a generous donor as the Baxter Perkinson Family,” said Jaeckle. “What a great way for Baxter Perkinson Jr. to honor his father knowing his father had an interest in Chesterfield.  I think of all the generations to come that will have the opportunity to patronize the Baxter Perkinson Arts Center.”

The Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation gets a step closer to reaching the goal of an arts center in Chester, born from the dreams of those living in the village some 50 years ago and revived in 2001. Mr. Cline, whose parents were part of a well-known Chester family years ago, has been spearheading the effort to raise what money was needed to make it happen.

“Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation will formally announce the name change to ‘Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts’ at the free Richmond Symphony concert at the conclusion of ChesterFest on September 17 at the Chester Village Green. A dinner/ fundraiser in Dr. and Mrs. Perkinson’s honor is scheduled for November 4 at the Cultural Center of India. A formal ground breaking ceremony will take place on the site at a future date,” said Cline.

But as large as the Perkinson pledge is, the Foundation still needs to raise money – about another $500 thousand to $600 thousand to cover operating expenses.

The Foundation still has seat recognitions available at $1,000 per seat. Plaques will be posted on the back of the theater seats with messages displaying “in memory of,” “in honor of,” family names, the names of civic organization, etc.