Philip Dutton, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, asked that I write a few words about the Kohl family’s participation and donations to the capital campaign and the Kohl Lobby.  As many of you know, Ben Kohl, my late husband, was a big supporter of education in Kent County and together we served on the Boards of many organizations.

Shortly after I joined the Board of the Prince Theatre Foundation, I realized that I had been given an opportunity to help shape an important venue for diverse entertainment and audiences on the Upper Shore.  As soon as the Board decided to mount a Capital Campaign, Ben and I also knew that the Kohl family would be among the first donors.  Good fortune had come to us recently and with it, we had resolved to foster our professional interests as well as our avocations. History, art, music and theatre, all bound to and through education, became the focus of our retirement activities.

While we knew our donations would have an impact, we hadn’t quite realized how strategic they would become in enhancing the social and cultural activities of the community. But we learned we were on the right track each time we attended a Women Helping Women concert or especially at that first, very moving Reconciliation Day in 2010.  Our interest in education initially brought us to the Prince to support the first year of Playmakers, for we knew that theatre could open up worlds to children.  That excellent theatre productions and concerts were also in the mix brought the enormous satisfaction that we had chosen the right venue to support.  The challenge, of course, is to continue to build an audience through diverse programming and to build faithful financial supporters to meet that challenge.

Ben loved a challenge, and he would be pleased to see The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre now poised to lead the arts community forward. He admired the initial transformation from a movie theatre where we remember seeing Batman with the appropriate real bats flitting around the high ceiling to the current lovely performance space.  And he’d be thrilled at The Kohl Lobby where, in discussing our family’s donation, we envisioned small gatherings for poetry readings, lectures, recitals or social gatherings – a place where all members of the community could gather for intimate cultural exchange.

Judy Kohl
Vice President, Board of Trustees

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