Along with celebrating soul pioneers Otis Reddings 81st birthday and legacy, the Otis Redding Foundation will host a groundbreaking ceremony and fundraiser events for the future Otis Redding Center for the Arts on Sept. 9-10 in Macon, Georgia.
The Otis Redding Center for the Arts, scheduled to open in 2023, will be housed in an 11,000-square-foot space. To further promote music education for students aged 3-18, the center will offer learning laboratories, collaborative spaces, rehearsal rooms and a stage for performances.
“Expanding our educational footprint in downtown Macon has been a long-term goal,” says Karla Redding-Andrews, vice president/director of the Otis Redding Foundation and the late artist’s daughter. “We are so excited to be on the road. With the expansion, we will be able to provide so many more opportunities for music and arts programming for young people in our community. We can’t wait to share our vision of progress through education with visitors from all over the world as we celebrate Dad’s 81st birthday.”
The Otis Redding Foundation was established in 2007 to empower, enrich and motivate young people through music. Since then, the foundation has provided a variety of programs, including the annual Otis Music Camp for ages 12-18, Camp DREAM for ages 5-11, music education workshops, private and group lessons, and opportunities to perform on iconic stages such as the Ryman Theater in Nashville,
Adds Redding’s widow, Zelma Redding, “Education was a priority for my late husband, and implementing it through music and the arts was our greatest dream. That educational legacy is carried on through each student the foundation is able to reach. And we hope that Otis is remembered as an agent of progress in his community as much as he is loved for the music he was able to create during his lifetime.”
The foundation’s weekend-long celebration – the first in-person since the pandemic – starts in September. 9 (Redding’s birthday) with the groundbreaking. The ceremony will be followed that evening by An Evening of Respect concert featuring Glasper and Guyton at Macon’s historic Grand Opera House. During the event, the foundation will also honor supporters DJ Derrick “D-NICE” Jones, Georgia driver Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones) and his entrepreneur/wife Rose Lane Leavell, Dr. Vickie Perdue Scott of the Legacy Builders Foundation and Dr. C. David Keith of Mercer University.
The Big “O” Homecoming Show will wrap up the weekend’s festivities on September. 10. The tribute show is a nod to Redding’s own Homecoming Show and Dance, which he hosted throughout the 1960s at the Macon City Auditorium. On stage at the Capitol Theater for the 2022 version will be Kendra Morris, Monophonics and The War and Treaty.
For more information about the Otis Redding Foundation and its upcoming legacy party, click here.