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Culture notes: Woodruff Arts Center raises $5.5 million in ongoing Annual Campaign; more gallery scene changes; Puppetry Center ‘Passport’

After four and a half months of fund-raising, the Woodruff Arts Center’s Annual Campaign is more than halfway to its $9.2 million goal.

The Woodruff has raised $5.5 million in the campaign that continues through May. It met its $9 million goal last year with an 11th hour push.

The Coca-Cola Company and Georgia Power Foundation have made top donations of $500,000 each, with UPS committing $300,000.

Givers at the $250,000-plus level so far are the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and Cox Interests (including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, James M. Cox Foundation, Cox Radio Group Atlanta, WSB-TV and Anne Cox Chambers).

AT&T, the Rich Foundation and SunTrust Bank & Trusteed Foundations have donated at the $150,000-plus level.

Alston and Bird, Bank of America, the Marcus Foundation, PwC, Turner Broadcasting System and the David, Helen & Marian Woodward Fund have committed at the $100,000-plus level.

The Annual Campaign is a key part of the $35 million raised annually by the Woodruff and its divisions – the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences.

Annual Campaign funds support shared services across the arts center, including finance, facility maintenance, human resources, information technology, security and outreach initiatives. A portion is distributed to the four Woodruff divisions for educational and artistic programs.

Through the Beauchamp C. Carr Challenge Fund, the Annual Campaign offers a one-to-one match for all new and increased gifts of more than $1,000. Carr Challenge Fund chairman Kurt Kuehn, chief financial officer of UPS, recently announced that the fund additionally will offer a two-to-one match for all new and increased gifts of $5,000 or more through April 15.

Started in 1968, the Annual Campaign is one of the largest drives of its kind in the country.

There is perhaps raised interest in the Woodruff’s funding after arts center finances wound up in the news twice late last year.

First, Atlanta Symphony management, determined to limit mounting debt that it projected would reach $20 million, went through acrimonious contract negotiations with its musicians that led to a work stoppage.

Then the Woodruff announced that a former employee had embezzled $1.48 million over five years by funneling money through a fake company he had set up. The arts center turned its findings over to the U.S. Attorney’s office. An arrest has yet to be made.

Changes on the gallery scene

Mint Gallery, which has taken over the Poncey-Highlands exhibition space of Young Blood Gallery, has opened its first curated exhibit, “Whim,” in its new location. The show features six artists whose work is influenced by intuition: Rebecca Hanna, Jacklin Jones, Emily Maxwell, Erin Palovick, Stephanie Raborn and Julianne Trew. Young Blood Boutique, meanwhile, has reopened in the storefront space as well. 636 N. Highland Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-946-8982,

  • Mingei World Arts, an international art and crafts gallery/emporium, plans to give up its downtown Decatur storefront but will remain in business, selling online and via pop-up sales. In a recent email to customers, co-owners Ann Van Slyke and Ellen McFee said the business would remain open for a still-to-be-determined number of months. “Our new Mingei will allow us to travel more, stay longer, and spend more time developing special products with our artisans,” they wrote. 427 Church St., Decatur. 404-371-0101, HOWARD POUSNER

A world of puppets free with ‘Passport’

Through a new partnership between the Center for Puppetry Arts and Georgia’s public libraries, anyone with a valid library card can gain free access for four to the Midtown center’s museum.

Library card holders can check out the puppetry center’s new “Passport to Puppetry” at any participating public library in all 159 Georgia counties. The passport is valid for four free admissions — a potential savings of up to $33 per family — to the museum, which features 350 puppets from around the world. (Parties with children must include at least one adult.)

Additionally, the “Passport to Puppetry” extends library patrons a 25 percent discount on puppetry center performances and/or its Create-a-Puppet Workshop (on a space-available basis). Details — including valid dates, show times, hours of operation and reservation information — are available at

More on accessing “Passport to Puppetry”: HOWARD POUSNER

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