In the early 1930s, many residents of Charleston voiced the opinion that a civic auditorium in the downtown would attract quality performeances and enhance cultural life in the growing city. The passage of a $250,000 municipal bond coupled with a grant from the Public Works Administration (PWA) made the project possible. In 1939, an Art Deco concrete-and-steel public building with a curvilinear design was raised by architect Alphonso F. Wysong and C. P. Fortney, chief engineer for the City of Charleston. A monumental performing-arts center with a 3,450 seating capacity in the auditorium and balcony and 64-foot-wide proscenium arch above an elevated stage provides a good view of performances from all seats. Managed as part of the Charleston Civic Center, the building continues to host performances and community events, such as high-school graduation ceremonies.
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