Capital campaign for playhouse renovation kicks off at BAYarts

BAYarts kicked off the next phase of renovations of the historic Huntington Playhouse with the announcement of a major donation toward their capital campaign of $100,000 by Joseph P. Carney of Westlake.

In the winter of 2019-2020, BAYarts was planning the expansion to respond to the growing need for more space to meet the strong demand for art classes, children’s art camps, and an ever-growing demand for more gallery and event space. Plans for fundraising and expansion were shelved in March 2020 as the popular and much-loved community art center shifted its classes to virtual instruction and "Art to Go" kits for students who were relegated to at-home remote learning.

In December of 2020, the State of Ohio, through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, awarded the arts organization with a grant for $500,000.

“This gift came just as we were restarting the expansion plans that were underway when the pandemic of 2020 hit,” noted Mary Conway Sullivan, Board President of BAYarts. “It was just the shot in the arm that we needed as we took our campaign public.” 

Joseph Carney’s significant donation will be used toward naming rights to the stage in the newly imagined former theater of Huntington Playhouse. The entire project is estimated at $1.8 million, and Mr. Carney’s donation, along with generous contributions from Tom and Amie O’Brien, Sean and Mary Sullivan, and other contributors in the community, brings the fundraising efforts to $750,000. 

“This expansion project comes at a perfect time in the history of BAYarts,” stated Ms. Sullivan. “For nearly 20 years, so many of us have been working to preserve the legacy of this beloved organization. The year 2023 will mark the 75th anniversary of BAYarts (formerly Baycrafters). This expansion project is all about establishing a future legacy for 2023 and beyond.”

When the Playhouse renovation is completed, BAYarts will have an expansive campus on the north side of the Huntington Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks that will include 10 indoor classrooms, 4 galleries, 6 outdoor meeting/classroom spaces, a consignment shop featuring local artists, a flexible 2,000-square-foot event space, an outdoor stage and a main indoor stage. 

“It’s been quite a couple of years,” remarked Nancy Heaton, Executive Director of BAYarts. “We have come through the pandemic stronger, wiser, and more creative than ever. I think people realized on a deeper level the importance of BAYarts to this community as a place of refuge, inspiration, community and, of course, art!” 

Other naming rights for the Playhouse project are available. Anyone interested can contact Nancy Heaton at or Mary Conway Sullivan at

Beth Milli

Beth Milli is the Director of Operations at BAYarts

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 10:01 AM, 06.21.2022