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NMSU's Center for the Arts receives $100,000 from dedicated volunteer

Local business owner Connie Hines has dedicated many of her volunteer hours during the last 10 years to the arts at New Mexico State University, including, along with her husband, Jerry, donating $100,000 to the Center for the Arts project.

Jerry and Connie Hines (NMSU photo by Julie M. Hughes)

"Art is a huge part of everyone's life. It's one of life's greatest pleasures," said Hines, who started dedicating her time to the arts at NMSU by serving on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Council for the Excellence in Arts and continuing with the Center for the Arts Leadership Committee. "I have a passion for the arts and I wanted to see something developed for future generations."

Hines, who has a fine arts degree from NMSU, owns Connie Hines Interior Design. She and her husband, Jerry, are involved with several area real estate and construction developments. It was through one of those developments that they were able to donate this gift.

"It is important for all of us to do what we can," Hines said of her gift. "We want to put together as much as we can to support this important effort at NMSU."

Jerry agreed this is an important project for the university as well as all of southern New Mexico.

"I'm not an artistic person, but I value the arts. They are an important part of a person's life," he said.

NMSU's Center for the Arts will gather the university's scattered arts programs in one central location, encouraging more collaborative activity and providing the community easier accessibility to the many creative endeavors on campus. The project has been a true blend of public and private funding. In November 2008, voters approved the bond initiative to secure the first $19 million. In its 2009 session, the New Mexico Legislature allocated another $5.5 million from its capital outlay fund. Private gifts and pledges from a variety of sources bring the total raised close to $26 million.

Construction on Phase I of the project is scheduled to begin in 2010. Phase I includes a Dance and Theatre Arts Performance Hall, which will be located at the corner of University Avenue and Espina Street. In addition to the 500-seat auditorium there will be classrooms and rehearsal space, state-of-the-art sound and lighting and fly storage space.

For more information on ways to support the Center for the Arts, contact Jill Grammer, director of development for the Center for the Arts, at jgrammer@nmsu.edu, (575) 646-3587 or (800) 342-6678. Gifts also can be made online at giving.nmsu.edu.