Peter Frisch, executive director of the Granada Theatre Board, gave praise to longtime Granada supporters Michael and Anne Towbes at a press conference this morning. Towbes, a Granada board member and chairman of the theater’s campaign committee, had just revealed his plans to donate $5 million to the recently remodeled State Street performing arts venue - if the Santa Barbara community can manage to meet that sum by December 31, 2008. If the $10 million dollar goal is achieved, the money will fund the Granada Theatre campaign and also create an endowment that would allow the theatre to set their plans for the official full season coming this September.
Towbes spoke about the restoration efforts at the theater, discussing what he perceives as excellent improvements to its stage, acoustics, and the size of its dressing rooms. “I think that Santa Barbara has long deserved a beautiful performing arts venue and Anne and I are so very pleased that we could help make it happen,” Towbes said.
Upon being asked of Towbes’s donation and ensuing challenge to Santa Barbara, former director of the County Arts Commission and occasional critic of Granada fundraising efforts Patrick Davis said he was all for it. “It’s great. Now they don’t have to borrow the money. I’m really happy for them,” he said. Davis also noted that he did not feel that continued donations to the Granada would deprive other artistic ventures from receiving necessary funding. “Most communities don’t really have an art community, but Santa Barbara does,” he said. “The Granada will just be another piece of the art community puzzle that Santa Barbara already has had in existence.”
The campaign has received $50 million so far. An additional $10 million will help Towbes reach his grand total goal of $60 million dollars and make for one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in Santa Barbara history.
For information on donations, call the Granada at (805) 899-3030.