The Clay Center announced this week that it has renamed its giant screen film and planetarium theater the Governor Gaston Caperton Digital Dome, in honor of the former governor and current Clay Center board member. Caperton and his two sons, John and Gat, along with The BrickStreet Foundation, W. Marston and Katharine B. Becker and Raymond Park and Family, joined to make a $1 million donation to the Center.
“The chance to bring the universe to West Virginia children – to do something that will impact education throughout the state and get students excited about science and learning – is a special opportunity for me and my sons,” Caperton said. “We are proud to play a role in transforming the theater into a 21st century classroom of the future.”
Ray Park, chairman of Park Corp., said, “It’s an honor to partner with Governor Caperton and others who are dedicated to giving West Virginia students the best possible opportunities to succeed by supporting educational initiatives, especially in science and technology.”
In the Governor Gaston Caperton Digital Dome, guests can swoop and glide over erupting volcanoes, lunge to the depths of the ocean and fly to the edge of the universe, all in one unforgettable visit.
“My grandchildren had a wonderful time exploring space, zooming in on deep sky objects and observing the solar system from every angle,” said Caperton, following a recent screening with his family. “I want all West Virginia families to have this experience.”
A longtime supporter of the Clay Center, Caperton donated a sculpture in honor of his late sister, Cary Capterton Owen, in 2013. The painted carbon steel sculpture, titled “Wind Torn,” is located on the Center’s front plaza.
The Digital Dome’s transformation is part of the Clay Center’s $14 million Full STEAM Ahead Campaign to deliver high-impact, hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education to West Virginia’s children and families in the totally reimagined Avampato Discovery Museum (ADM).
By providing funds to transform more than 16,000 square feet of ADM space into a universe of self-directed learning and exploration, the Full STEAM Ahead Campaign will ensure a new experience for every guest, every time. The Campaign will also provide funds for a newly-created Exhibit Renewal Endowment to assure that exhibits in the ADM are well-maintained and refreshed in the future. The Clay Center has $2.5 million left to raise to meet its $14 million goal.
Following is a list of the generous individuals, corporations and foundations that have contributed to Full STEAM Ahead, under the leadership of Campaign Chair W. Marston “Marty” Becker and Vice-Chair Michael Graney: Anonymous, W. Marston and Katharine B. Becker, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, BrickStreet Foundation, Governor Gaston Caperton, Clay Foundation, The Daywood Foundation, Inc., Bernard H. and Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation, Ann C. and Robert O. Orders, Jr. Family Foundation, Inc., Raymond Park and Family, H.B. Wehrle Foundation, Michael Wehrle.
For more information on all Clay Center exhibits, programs and events, visit www.theclaycenter.org or call 304-561-3570.