The Tree of Life Project


The Gertrude Castellow Ford Center is the Oxford’s (and North Mississippi’s) premier entertainment facility. With a variety of Broadway shows, ballets and concerts, the Ford Center commits itself to showcasing the highest-quality entertainment. “Hairspray,” “Jersey Boys,” “Rent” and “The Wizard of Oz” are just a few of the many Broadway tours that have stopped by Oxford on their way around the country, and the list of international ballets includes “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker.” The performing arts center has brought many notable shows to Mississippi, and it is looking to expand its resume by launching a new capital campaign and calling on beloved university supporters to help the Ford Center move forward.

The campaign, titled “Celebrating the Arts,” aims to establish funding to secure long-term sustainability for the Ford Center and allow the program to showcase a variety of diverse performances. Running a performing arts program incurs a large amount of costs, with many musicals costing around $70,000 and the state-of-the-art facilities requiring upgrades and repairs. The Ford Center is funded solely by private donors, and the Celebrating the Arts campaign plans to honor donors by allowing them to have their names etched into a sculpture that will be displayed in the lobby. The sculpture, carved by artist Richard Teller, takes the shape of three grove trees, and different parts of the trees can be given for different levels of donations.

Leaf: The sculpture has 750 leaves, each of which cost $1,000. An individual may make multiple donations for a cluster of leaves.

Acorn: A donor can receive one of 10 acorns with a gift of $10,000.

Bough: By gifting $20,000-$30,000, a donor can receive a sculpted bough that will be individually customized. The sculpture only has eight boughs.

The Gertrude C. Ford Center has done an incredible job of bringing more culture to Oxford, and many people have benefitted from its services and programs. With the help of students, parents and residents, it will continue to see success long after we’re gone. To join the Celebrating the Arts campaign and receive your personalized sculpture piece, click here.


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