Council revives commemorative brick campaign

Published 5:45 pm Monday, May 22, 2017

Stand in front of the Turnage Theatre and what one sees is a piece of Washington history, an early 20th-century venue impeccably restored to its former glory. Look down, however, and one can read the names of many people who helped make that happen — they are family, friends, some living, others long departed, but all commemorated in brick on the path leading to the theater’s door.

This week, Arts of the Pamlico revives the commemorative brick campaign, one of many fundraisers held by the Turnage Theaters Foundation to help fund the renovation of the theater in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Lining the theater’s front walk, the bricks are engraved with a message up to 15 characters long, on up to two lines.

“We were looking for a way to allow many people who have come and asked about leaving a legacy or a memory or a way to support the arts council, and we decided to revive it because so many people were interested in it,” said Debra Torrence, executive director of Arts of the Pamlico. “It was really spawned by so much interest from day one.”

It is a fundraiser — each 4 1/2-inch-by-8-inch engraved brick is $100 — but Torrence also refers to the project as more public art, but with a little more personal, community-based touch.

“We see so many families stop and look at it, and say, ‘Oh, there’s your grandfather’s name,’ or ‘We bought this when I was little,’” Torrence said.

She said they’re hoping to fill in the entire walkway, using the same pattern. Existing bricks will where they are.

“Everyone will stay in the same place, we’re just filling in the design,” Torrence said.

The bricks will be engraved locally by Just Write Laser in Farmville, and bricks will be sold until Aug. 31, or they are gone. The unveiling of the brick additions likely will be at AOP’s annual meeting on Sept. 15.

For those interested in leaving their own legacy on the Turnage’s front walk, order forms can be found at