George Link, Jr. Gilmer Arts PLAYHOUSE


Well, we thought we had our costs covered for this building renovation project, but with change orders and unexpected costs, plus the usual problem most building and renovation projects face, that being always budgeting on the cheaper side of things, we didn’t raise enough. Even though we raised $565,000, it looks like this project is going to come in at more like $625,000 without cutting any corners. And we are not going to cut corners. This is a 50 year build out, and the Gilmer Arts Board and all of us in the Playhouse management want it right. And it will be.

So, if you feel led to contribute to the capital campaign again, or for the first time, we’d greatly appreciate the help. We got this far with the help of individuals, companies, trusts, foundations and the State of GA, and we can get to our finish line the same way. This is truly a community effort.

Finish work is underway inside and out. The stage and hall lighting and digital audio system are being installed, rigging for the stage curtains, furniture and flooring ordered and we are coming to the last few weeks of this multi-year long project.

Performances are booked starting September 1 for our grand opening weekend all the way into next June. We have a terrific line up of theatre productions, shows and music concerts we’re sure the whole community will enjoy attending.

Our thanks go out to general contractor Joe Dixon and design architect Michael Grant for working so hard to save us money at every turn, asking suppliers for deals and contributions, asking sub-contractors to do extra without compensation, and our friends at the City of Ellijay for help on inspections and staying first class with the work and materials.

Help us if you can with a contribution, as big as you can make it. You know right where it will go. Thank you.

John Rathbone,
Executive Director, George Link, Jr. Gilmer Arts Playhouse Project


In 1992, thirteen years after forming, Gilmer Arts (GA) inaugurated its flagship program, Bringing Ellijay Sensational Talent (B.E.S.T.) Series. This series brings premiere award-winning national and international talent to Ellijay four times a year. The Gilmer Arts Community Chorus was formed in 1999.  It is led by choral directors from around the region, performing two concerts a year a mixture of secular, sacred and popular choral works by the 50+ member chorus. Around the same year the Gilmer Arts Community Theatre was formed. By 2013 the troup of actors, directors, costume and scenery staff officially formed the Gilmer Arts Players. The Players currently perform several community theatre productions and dinner theatre evenings per year.

Since 2005 the Gilmer Arts Players have performed in Hawthorne Hall in the gallery site at 207 Dalton St. in downtown Ellijay. A few years later GA began sponsoring live music concerts featuring local and regional performers. In 2011 they started a monthly event, Acoustic Blends, in which local talent performs in an ‘Open Mic’ format. To encourage and foster new performers, a First Sessions class precedes Acoustic Blends to help build the skills and confidence of novice performers who will play with seasoned talent and in front of an audience.

Gilmer Arts has always been a work in progress, striving to improve the quality of life in Gilmer County and North Georgia. Our Mission States “Gilmer Arts is a non-profit agency with a mission to promote passionate interest and active participation in the arts. We provide educational opportunities and sensational events in the visual, literary and performing arts for the people of Gilmer County and the surrounding area.”

The Board of Directors, several committees, volunteers, donors and grantors have worked together for the past two years to develop a superior live performance venue in an effort to fulfill the Gilmer Arts mission and vision statements.

With the purchase in June 2015 of the 1940s building at 135 Dalton Street in Historic Downtown Ellijay, supporters of the arts in Gilmer County and neighboring communities moved one step closer to making a permanent venue for live performances a reality in Ellijay.  A generous gift from the George Link, Jr. Charitable Trust had given us a start for this incredible opportunity. The May 2016 announcement of a grant from the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s tourism program brought us $150,000 closer to our fundraising goal. With hard work done by the volunteers active in this project by December 2016, more than $565,000 had been raised — well above the original $500,000 goal.
Significant renovations have transformed this building into a 150-seat venue capable of hosting high quality performances, rehearsals and other events on 100+ nights per year. We are proud to present the George Link, Jr. Gilmer Arts PLAYHOUSE. We look forward to sharing our calendar of great entertainment that begins with our grand opening Labor Day Weekend 2017.


The George Link, Jr. Gilmer Arts Playhouse  is supported in part by a grant from the State of GA Department of Economic Development and Tourism.