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Butler's Clowes Hall to get facelift ahead of 50th anniversary

CharityLilly Eli & Co

As Butler’s Clowes Memorial Hall prepares for its 50th anniversary, the venue is set for a facelift thanks to a $2 million gift.

The grant comes from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. Clowes Hall will use the money to renovate the auditorium, replacing about 2,200 seats and installing new carpet. Other work will include acoustical enhancement, roof repairs and wall repairs like painting, plastering and wood restoration.

Crews will work on the renovations during the summer of 2013 to make sure they’re finished in time for Clowes’ 50th anniversary celebration.

“This generous gift comes at a perfect time as we look back on Clowes Hall’s first 50 years and forward to Clowes’ next 50,” said Elise Kushigian, executive director of Clowes Memorial Hall. “We’re grateful to the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for helping keep this spectacular theater operating at full capacity.”

Clowes Hall opened on Oct. 18, 1963. The venue was built in memory of Dr. George Henry Alexander Clowes, a former researcher at Eli Lilly and Company. It also served as the initial home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

George Clowes conceived the idea of a multi-purpose hall to serve Indianapolis as a center for the arts. His family, Butler University and a small circle of friends raised the money to build the hall. His wife, Edith, was the principal donor. Allen Whitehill Clowes was George and Edith’s son and a Butler trustee.

In 2009, the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation provided a $500,000 grant to complete an infrastructure study that became part of a 10-year plan for restoration and renovation of the building.

“We are proud to continue the legacy of Allen Clowes himself and the entire Clowes family for their passion of the arts, their dreams, and their commitment to make Clowes Memorial Hall a reality,” Butler President James M. Danko said. “We are reminded of their generosity every time we attend a performance or lecture in the venue.”

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