Active duty members of the armed services as well as fire, rescue and police personnel from Kent and Queen Anne’s counties will be able to attend events at the Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre free of charge for the Center’s first year, compliments of Matthew Garfield.

“Matt Garfield’s offer to pay for tickets for law enforcement, emergency and military personnel reflects his heartfelt desire to have the Garfield Center serve every single person in our area, just as the public servants serve us all,” said Philip Dutton, president of the Garfield Center’s board of directors. “The arts center will be the heart of our community; there will be something for everyone at the Garfield.”

Executive Director Lucia Foster agrees that the ticket offer from Garfield is an important commitment that underscores the theater’s mission to serve everyone in the surrounding community.

“This is an incredibly generous offer on Matt Garfield’s part,” Foster said. She noted that reservations will be required of those who qualify for free tickets, and that box office personnel will ask for appropriate IDs when tickets are picked up.

Garfield announced his offer when he took the stage on October 1 to welcome the sold-out crowd during the gala opening of the High Street playhouse that now bears his name. He told the sold-out audience that he wants everyone in the community to know that they are welcome at the theater.

With the rollout of the new name, the Garfield Center’s new logo, designed by Francoise Sullivan, has started appearing around town, on tee shirts worn by theater staff and volunteers (shirts are available for sale in the theater lobby), and there are other changes as well.

Sullivan, a website designer who owns Moo Productions, was not only the winner of the logo contest—a competition that attracted more than a dozen submissions by area graphic artists—but she also is the designer of the Garfield Center’s new website, at www.garfieldcenter.com, where upcoming events are posted and ticket purchases are available.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the transformation taking place at the Prince,” Sullivan said.

Meanwhile, Garfield board member Dr. Mel Rapelyea has started working to bring the Chestertown Jazz Festival back to town as a Garfield Center event in 2012 with the help of a Western Shore car dealership as a major sponsor.

“BMW of Annapolis is interested in advertising on the Eastern Shore—particularly in Chestertown,” Rapelyea said. He noted that the dealership announced its interest in sponsoring the Chestertown Jazz Festival in 2012 as part of their ad in the Garfield Center’s gala program booklet. “BMW promotes the arts around the world,” he said. “I feel this is a superb opportunity to bring the Jazz Festival back to Chestertown.”

With the Garfield Center’s gala weekend behind them, construction workers and craftspeople are back in the new full-size lobby, finishing the cabinetry, mini-stage, box office, refreshment stand, floors and wall coverings. Eventually, they will install specially-designed front doors, and they’ll hang a brand new high-tech marquee on the outside brick wall.

“Just wait until the new entrance doors and marquee are installed and the original scored concrete flooring is restored,” said Dutton. “Garfield will be the most elegant building on the Eastern Shore.”

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