Raising the Roof

Centerpiece feature for The Memphis Daily News

March 20, 2013

Blues Foundation in final stage of fundraising for Hall of Fame

If all goes well, The Blues Foundation will be raising the roof on a new Blues Hall of Fame at 421 S. Main St. in six months.

The roof, of course, is already there, and the ground floor now holds the foundation’s offices and a gift shop, but the Raise the Roof campaign is hoping to garner the last $1 million needed of the $2.5 million proposed to build out a first-class venue.

The architecture firm of archimania and the museum exhibit firm Design 500 are working on final plans for what should be another jewel in the city’s heavyweight belt of music that includes Sun Studio, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Graceland and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

For a music genre known for testifying to the human condition and championing the everyman, it is fitting that $1.25 million of the funds have come directly from blues fans around the world in the form of direct contributions and membership dues – the Blues Foundation currently has 4,500 individual members.

The Memphis area is responsible for $250,000 with the largest local donors being ArtsMemphis ($175,000), First Tennessee Bank ($45,000) and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau ($25,000).

“We have been focusing on getting blues fans, wherever they live, to show that this is an important thing and step forward first, and now we’re reaching out more to the Memphis community,” said Jay Sieleman, president and CEO of the foundation.

“The Blues Foundation is recognized around the world for bringing attention and acclaim to this unique, authentic art form,” said Susan Schadt, president and CEO of ArtsMemphis. “Where could be better than Downtown Memphis to house the Blues Music Hall of Fame? It’s thrilling to see the broad base of support Jay Sieleman and the Blues Foundation have garnered for this project, not just in Memphis but nationally.” … (read more)