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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture

Mission: To inspire creativity, learning and wonder through experiences in the arts and sciences for all people of West Virginia and the region.

Results: Nearly 190,000 general public, members and school-based visitors take part in the Clay Center's museum, performing arts, and other educational programming annually.

Programs: The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia is a 240,000 square foot venue that houses performing arts, visual arts and sciences under one roof - one of the few of its kind in the country. The Clay Center, which is the product of a decade of planning, opened in 2003 as part of a major project to revive downtown Charleston, WV while serving as a cultural and educational resource for students and citizens statewide. Over the past 15 years, the Clay Center has served more than 2 million people onsite and through its community outreach activities. By providing multiple high-impact STEAM exhibits and flexible learning environments, relevant curriculum, diverse performances and world-class visual art, the Clay Center enhances the state's cultural landscape and enriches the lives of all West Virginians. Additionally, the Clay Center is one of the preeminent economic engines for the Kanawha Valley and West Virginia.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I have served on the Board of two WV non-profit groups, and the Clay Center is stellar in its programming; delivering quality experiences to children of all age groups in the Discovery, Science and Planetarium areas of the Center. As a parent, grandparent and active business owner in our community, the Clay Center is one of the best experiences in the entire state of WV and our region.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A wonderful place that has much to offer. Charleston, WV is blessed to have the Clay Center to offer such a variety of activities, learning opportunities, entertainment and exhibits. It offers an interactive children's museum, planetarium and theater, a fine art museum and a beautiful performance hall. There is absolutely something for everyone!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Since its inception over ten years ago, the Clay Center has rapidly assumed its position as the crown jewel in the cultural, educational, and artistic scene of Charleston and its wider West Virginia audience. No other facility in the state quite compares with the Clay's offering of sophisticated environments for a child's discovery of science, for an art lover's appreciation, for a patron's enjoyment of music and performance. My extended family has regularly absorbed all three, experiencing personal growth along the way. My wife and I are proud to have contributed our small part to the success of the Clay Center, and we are reassured that the skilled staff there will secure a bright future for it and the community it serves.

SJBusse

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Clay Center is a jewel in our state! From the performance hall that's recognized as top-notch by performers and audiences alike (there's not a bad seat in the room!), to the science exhibits that bring fun-filled learning experiences to children and adults -- it's the place to be for entertainment and education! And then, there's the art museum: a true cultural experience featuring changing national and local exhibits curated to engage and educate. (Oh! And don't forget the theater and planetarium -- state of the art!) The staff is always friendly and helpful, and the building itself is magnificent. The Clay Center is a must-see when visiting the area and it should be a destination for anyone in the region!

Alisa B.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences propels the Charleston area into the realm of big city amenities. Situated in the heart of Appalachia, this institution brings culture and education to the region in a way no other institution does. My favorite event is Carnaval which galvanizes our community to provide monetary and volunteer support, which in turn, goes to the very important arts and sciences programming for residents and visitors alike. Great institution, great staff and great vision.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an assistant superintendent in the school system in which the Clay Center resides, and I cannot begin to describe the educational opportunities that the Clay Center has provided our students. All of our students in grades 2-5 visit the Clay Center each year and participate in experiments, exhibits, and other hands-on activities that focus on the learning standards that are required by our state board of education. The Clay Center staff works with me to provide our secondary students with learning opportunities in the planetarium and in other STEM activities. We have also been able to provide many of our Title I students an opportunity to visit the Clay Center with their families in the evening. Each time I meet with the staff at the Clay Center, they have more ideas for educational programming for our students. We are a school system of 26,000 students, so this is a daunting task.

Nate O.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Clay Center is the best thing in Charleston! There is nothing like it within a three-hour drive. And the combination of art, science, and performance under one roof is rare combination anywhere in the country. I'm proud to support the Clay Center in its efforts to bring educational and cultural opportunities to the people of West Virginia.

Rebecca87

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The Clay Center is a 'diamond in the rough' of Charleston, WV. Whenever we have guest from out of State we always take them there for a show, activity, movie, art, Planetarium....Just a lovely place of culture and sophistication, too. LOVE the Theatre! So beautifully designed and not one bad seat in the house. Lovely!

Melody P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's shocking that this beautiful venue is in teeny charleston wv. A jewel in the rough is how I would describe. Never in charleston have we had such great cultural activities and variety if artists to see. Typically we were offered country, rock or religious acts but clay center mixes it up and gives us a huge selection of acts, shows, concerts and more. The events are also reasonably priced. Definitely one if THE noteworthy things in West Virginia.

Summer B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Clay Center has so many wonderful events throughout the year. It has kid friendly events, as well as, events for adults. Our family goes often. We definitely take advantage of it in the winter months. It's a great excuse to get out of the house.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have always thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Clay Center. From attending shows, to hosting my children's birthday parties, we have always had a wonderful experience. The interactive exhibits are educational and fun for my young girls! Great staff to greet you with a warm smile and helping hands! Entertainment and enjoyment for ALL ages!

Kevin70

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Clay Center makes me smile :) I've had so many wonderful experiences there with my family. When my husband & I were dating, he first took me there to see the symphony for Valentine's Day. Since then we've experienced so many great acts, plays and other performances. I LOVE this place and the staff & volunteers. Everyone is so helpful & efficient. It's a true WV gem. ~Samantha Fooce

Andrew60

Board Member

Rating: 5

Civic and business leaders, along with arts organizations studied what we wanted for the Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia for over a decade before we started construction. We wanted to bring Education, Economic Development, and Entertainment to the city, region and State. The Clay Foundation and family, along with many people, businesses, organizations and government helped us achieve our goals and promises. Ten years after its opening, I believe we have delivered on our promises of the 3 E's, plus more. I am so proud of the employees, volunteers, individuals, and businesses that have made the Clay Center the vibrant economic, entertainment, and educational centerpiece of our city, region, and State. Thanks to everyone who helped make this dream a reality. We look forward to continued success in the next decade and beyond. Former Board Chair, Andrew K Teeter

Donor

Rating: 5

The Clay Center has been a resource for my family since its inception. I was introduced to it when my children were small and loved attending the science museum, which is entertaining and geared toward inquisitive kids. As an adult, I also found the Clay Center to be rewarding for a varied stream of musical performances in a performance hall that boasts sterling sound quality for a concert experience, as well as the art museum. Over the years, the Clay Center's performance lineup has shifted to include acts by emerging artists on the way up (bolstered by its periodic hosting of Mountain Stage performances) in addition to well-known artists. This shift shows the Center's focus on reaching all age groups in its programming and developing the next generation of subscribers. Charleston is a small city, and West Virginia a smaller state, so it is a treasure to have such a fabulous performing hall, science museum and art museum all under one roof.

Board Member

Rating: 5

During its first ten years of serving West Virginia and the entire tri-state area, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences has become the regional place to go for great entertainment and unique educational experiences for children and adults of all ages. From Tony Bennett to the Jonas Brothers and from Broadway to ballet, the multiple genres offered by the Clay Center have made the performing arts available and attractive to every sector of our society. And with the spectacular art exhibits and the science museum, there are visual arts and educational offerings for everyone. The performance hall accommodates not only outstanding musical acts and theatrical performances, it also serves as home to the West Virginia Symphony, one of the gems of our region.

The first ten years have been a time of incredible growth and maturity for the Clay Center, and the obvious trajectory points to even greater things to come.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Clay Center offers everything to inspire and delight. An acoustically perfect performance hall, great art and science exhibits for kids and adults alike, and terrific programming of all sorts across the State of West Virginia. Like our State Capitol, it takes my breath away every time I enter (especially at night!).

John188

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board Member of the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia. One of the most important reasons I enjoy this honor just to see the growing impact to and for the community. Exhibits, performances, interactive displays create a meaningful environment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the Clay Center for several years now, and I've had such a good experience with it that I anticipate being a supporter of the Center for many years to come. The Clay Center really is a treasure, bringing exhibitions, artists, and speakers this area would have no other direct access to. And the staff are absolutely dedicated to the mission of the Center.

Lynn40

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I don't know what life would be like for my family without the Clay Center. We don't travel much so being able to see great shows and art exhibits at The Clay Center is very important to us. My grandchildren can't wait until their next trip there. My husband and I had our second date there and we have enjoyed being able to hear so many artists and guest performers with the WV Symphony. There is no better sound quality anywhere. LynnC

Nell H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Clay Center is an outstanding resource, providing truly varied and unique offerings to the entire local community. There are countless exhibits, events, special programs, concerts, classes, lectures, etc. for a myriad of interests at every age level. The facilities are gorgeous, the staff wholly knowledge and friendly, and the experience provided is unparalleled in our area.

Shane6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A truly unique venue with something for all ages! From my 4 yr old twins to my 14 yr old nephew the Clay Center has provided a unique learning experience each visit. The interactive science exhibits,the art museum,and the Electric Sky Theater provide a critical learning environment that can not be replicated in the classroom. The state of art performance hall has infused culture into a community starving for diversity. Most of all it's FUN!

Client Served

Rating: 4

My family was blessed with a discounted membership to the Clay Center. As a home educator, I appreciate the educational value of the many interactive exhibits. My daughter seems to learn something new each time we visit. But I also appreciate the entertainment value of the Clay Center. They offer many concerts, plays, and lectures, as well as exhibits, films, etc. The Clay Center has been a great resource for my family.

Harry4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an amazing facility and a great team. There is so much that the Clay Center offers, to children, to families and to the community. A wide and varied selection of performances in several venues, all at one location, makes this the ideal facility to enjoy a concert or play. The staff go out of their way to insure that patrons enjoy a wonder experience and the exposure to art and science through the rotating exhibits and displyas and children's museum makes a visit to the Clay a wonderfully enriching experience. The planetarium and Electric Sky theatre offer an experience like no other in WV and truly one wortha visit.