For Immediate Release                                           
The Arts Council
Contact:  Kevin Ledgewood
205-758-5195, x6


(Tuscaloosa, AL) The Grand Opening of Tuscaloosa’s new Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center will take place August 29, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. Serving as a dynamic addition to an already expanding downtown arts scene, the center will be managed by The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa and will house The Arts Council Gallery, The University of Alabama Gallery, Black Box Theatre, Grand Hall and office spaces. The space will offer a variety of events such as family programming and educational opportunities. The venue will also be available to rent for events such as performances, rehearsals, weddings or community meetings.

The Grand Opening will begin with an official ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m. with Tuscaloosa City and County officials.  Representatives from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, The University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences and other noted individuals will be present. The opening corresponds with the birthday of the facility’s namesake, Dinah Washington. Music and refreshments will be provided.

Those attending the evening will have the opportunity to view the inaugural exhibits in the two galleries. The Arts Council Gallery will host rotating exhibits of local, state and nationally recognized artists. The first will feature the work of noted Tuscaloosa painter James Conner, on display August 29 – September 26, 2013.

“The Arts Council is thrilled to be part of this important moment in the history of Downtown Tuscaloosa. While the Allen & Jemison building holds fond memories for people in West Alabama, the Cultural Arts Center has the ability to embrace the past, present and future through the arts. The space will provide educational activities, performances and exhibits that will connect the community to the arts. The partnership with The University of Alabama will provide a unique opportunity and resource for the citizens of West Alabama. This space represents an investment in our community and in our future,” said Sandra Wolfe, Executive Director of The Arts Council.

The University of Alabama Gallery offers a year-round schedule of exhibitions of artistic works, artifacts, textiles and more from permanent collections held by The University of Alabama as well as works by faculty, students, and guest artists and designers. “A Magic Carpet Ride: Rugs from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. William T. Price” will be exhibited August 29 – October 24, 2013.

“Downtown Tuscaloosa is rapidly becoming a hot new cultural and entertainment destination for our community, and the opening of the Cultural Arts Center by The Arts Council is certainly a cornerstone event in that process. The experience of walking down the street and encountering a work of art or cultural beauty that catches both the eye and the imagination should be a frequent moment in any vibrant city.  The University of Alabama has much to offer to make that happen, and we are delighted to partner with The Arts Council and other UA divisions to share those opportunities with the community through the new University of Alabama Gallery,” said Robert F. Olin, Dean of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, which will coordinate exhibitions in the gallery.

The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center (CAC) is located in the former Allen & Jemison Warehouse Co. building located on the corner of 7th Street and Greensboro Avenue on the same block as the Bama Theatre. The City of Tuscaloosa received a $1.5 million HUD grant to renovate the infrastructure. The city then turned the project over to The Arts Council to finish the space and manage the first cultural arts center in Tuscaloosa’s history. The Arts Council is still in the process of raising funds to complete the first floor of the CAC. Slightly over $1 million has been raised to date and an additional $150,000 is needed to complete construction on the first floor.

Dinah Washington was a jazz and blues vocalist and pianist born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The “Queen of Blues,” Washington has been cited as the most popular black female recording artist of the 1950’s. She is a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is located at 620 Greensboro Avenue in downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information about The Arts Council or Cultural Arts Center, patrons should LIKE the Facebook page “The Arts Council – Bama Theatre – Cultural Arts Center” and follow tuscarts on Twitter. Call 205-758-5195 or visit cac.tuscarts.org for further information.