Otis Redding Foundation Announces New Center for the Arts & Amphitheater

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From left to right: Justin Andrews, Benjy Griffith, Karla Redding-Andrews, Zelma Redding, Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller, Dr. Kevin Williams, Kimberly Epps, Mirako Loyde
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The Otis Redding Foundation is excited to announce the planned 9,000 square foot Otis Redding Center for the Arts and Amphitheater located in a place that is famous for its musical talent and heritage. It is envisioned as a central destination for youth educational programs in music and the arts.

“There is no better place to be located, where musicians like a young Otis Redding, Little Richard, and Lena Horne started right here,” said Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller at the March 1 announcement.

From left to right: Justin Andrews, Benjy Griffith, Karla Redding-Andrews, Zelma Redding, Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller, Dr. Kevin Williams, Kimberly Epps, Mirako Loyde
From left to right: Justin Andrews, Benjy Griffith, Karla Redding-Andrews, Zelma Redding, Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller, Dr. Kevin Williams, Kimberly Epps, Mirako Loyde

The Center will feature two stories of art lab spaces, practice rooms, and studio space for students to explore songwriting, production, performance, and more. An outside amphitheater will open onto downtown Macon’s main thoroughfare and serve as a venue for student performances, a music-filled community gathering space, and a public face on the Otis Redding Foundation’s commitment to preserving Macon’s musical legacy and investing in the city’s next generation of artists.

During his life, Macon-based Soul singer Otis Redding led philanthropic efforts in the Middle Georgia community through scholarships and financial opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Though a tragic plane crash in 1967 cut Otis Redding’s life short, his legacy and dedication to education in his community would live on through his widow, Zelma Redding, who formally established the Otis Redding Foundation in 2007 in her late husband’s honor. 

“Educating children through music was a dream of my husband’s,” said Redding. “He would have been proud of the Foundation’s programs that emphasize creativity and inspiration.”                                                                                                         

In 2020, the Knight Foundation provided the Otis Redding Foundation a grant to research a location and devise a plan for a new Center space.  Once the location was identified, Mrs. Zelma Redding made a gift of $1 million to purchase the property. Her gift, along with a generous donation from the Griffith Foundation, led initial fundraising efforts.

“I truly believe that making sure all children have equal access to share and build their musical and artistic strengths will help them become well-rounded students, thus making the future of our community brighter,” stated Benjy Griffith, founder of the Griffith Foundation. “The Otis Redding Center for the Arts will most definitely assist with that crucial access to arts education.”

“With planning well underway for an Otis Redding Center for the Arts, we need you,” said existing Center student and high school senior Mirako Loyde.  “We need your Determination. We need your Resilience. We need your Energy. We need your Ambition. We need your Mastery. Otis Redding had a dream. Young people like me have even bigger dreams.”

To DONATE and/or LEARN more on how to join the Foundation’s mission to empower, enrich and motivate all young people through programs involving music, writing, and instrumentation at the Otis Redding Center for the Arts, visit otisreddingfoundation.org/donate or call 478-742-5737.

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