Donor spurs brick campaign at Athenaeum


An anonymous donor has proposed matching a $50,000 donation to The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s Endowment Fund if received by Dec. 31.

If met by the 2010 end-of-year deadline, the proposal will be renewed again in 2011, and every year to come. The commitment was announced at the Sept. 28 Board of Trustees meeting.

Community members and businesses can help the Athenaeum reach its goal of raising a total of $100,000 for its Endowment Fund by taking part in the re-launch of the “Brick Campaign,” said Executive Director Erika Torri.

For $1,500, contributors will have their name, the name of a loved one, or company name engraved on a brick in the Athenaeum’s courtyard on Wall Street. Personalized messages can also be engraved on each brick, which accommodate 3 lines of text and a maximum of 50 characters (including punctuation and spaces).

The original four bricks bear the names of the organization’s foremothers, Ellen Browning Scripps, Florence Sawyer, Margaret Dixon and Marjorie Hutchinson. The “Brick Campaign” first took shape in 2006 as part of an endeavor to rejoin the three historic buildings of which the library is comprised today — the main building designed in 1921 by William Templeton Johnson; the iconic Rotunda built in 1957 by William Lumpkins; and a building on Girard Avenue attributed to Tom Shepard, which was later acquired by the Athenaeum in 1966.

One hundred and fifty bricks have already been placed in the courtyard. Many more can be added. The entire courtyard, including all 150 original bricks, will be replaced with ones that are newly engraved by January 2011, making it an interesting holiday gift for family and friends.

Individuals interested can call the library at (858) 454-5872.