Rehoming old Morris seats can help expand access to the arts for all

NOW: Rehoming old Morris seats can help expand access to the arts for all

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.,--When you purchase tickets to a show, you usually only buy one or two seats at the Morris Performing Arts Center. Not Tim Bennett, Bennett now owns 2,654 seats.

2,654 seats are being replaced in the Morris renovations. The 100-year-old South Bend staple is getting an interior facelift--something pretty common in show business, but to Bennett, there's something special about these chairs.

“These are beautiful pieces of history,” said Bennett. “From 20 to 60 years old, these backs are beautiful. They’re hand-crafted wood.”

He says theater seats are more than just seats…

“This world of play acting, or being in a band, it allows you to go to a different place, right?” said Bennett. “It takes somebody who’s in the audience away from their troubles, their kids, their house payments, these problems, whatever—and they can be transported to this world. So, when I found out those chairs were going to go to the dump, I stepped in and said, ‘what is it that we could do?”

As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure, but Bennett isn't looking to keep all 2,564 seats. He's hoping to re-home the seats for a cause near and dear to his heart: Equity in the Arts, a program that expands access to the Morris and the arts for all.

“My grandfather played this room, I played this room. And I want somebody that this program could touch to play this room. To be on a tour bus and come back into their hometown on that stage and throw up a show, what a beautiful thing!”

For those interested in taking home seats, Bennett is accepting donations that will go directly to the Equity in the Arts program.

“Equity in the Arts and those types of programs allowed me to be in live entertainment, and film and tv my entire life,” said Bennett. “They gave me that, and I want to be able to put that back into some other kid.”

Driven by the arts and driven by his heart, serving his community is second nature for Bennett.

“As a veteran, first of all, I’m proud that I’ve served my country. I’m probably more proud that I’m serving my community now, it’s never left me.”

His first need is storage, he’s looking for 5000 square feet, but he also would love for people to rehome the seats. If you’re able to help or would like to donate, you can email Tim at whattim@aol.com or call (310) 713-2816.

 

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