Not so many years ago, downtown Columbus, Georgia, was a decaying, dilapidated mill town, with little hope for renewal. Some thought it best to just tear it down and start over. But a group of visionary townsfolk thought otherwise. They banded together to raise more than one million dollars to revitalize their blighted downtown. Today Columbus is the hub of arts and culture in the Southeast, and its RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is the crown jewel around which Columbus rose from the ashes.
Since RiverCenter for the Performing Arts was made possible through a public/private partnership of arts organizations, the facility is shared by a variety of organizations. The 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theatre is the center’s main venue and home to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. It has hosted such greats as Lily Tomlin, Garrison Keeler, Second City, Broadway theater performances, and musical performances ranging from rock to Bluegrass. The 430-seat Legacy Hall theater shown in the above photo, along with the facility’s 150-seat, black-box Studio Theater, provide rehearsal and performance space for the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music. Itzak Pearlman said of RiverCenter, “Of all the theaters I have played in throughout the world, this is one of the finest.”