Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts Foundation
110 West Finney Avenue
Suffolk VA 23434-5265
Mission Statement The mission of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is to encourage and advocate the visual and performing arts by providing a forum where diverse audiences can actively participate in cultural experiences. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is committed to supporting the economic vitality of Suffolk by enhancing the life experiences of our citizens and visitors.
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Jackie W. Cherry
Board Chair Mr. McLemore Birdsong Jr.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Birdsong Peanuts
Contact Information
Address 110 West Finney Avenue
Suffolk, VA 234345265
Telephone 757 923-0003 3020
Fax 757 923-9699
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2002
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $1,176,950.00
Projected Expenses $1,176,950.00
Mission The mission of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is to encourage and advocate the visual and performing arts by providing a forum where diverse audiences can actively participate in cultural experiences. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is committed to supporting the economic vitality of Suffolk by enhancing the life experiences of our citizens and visitors.

Top Accomplishments for 2014-15 Season

  • Over 50,000 people visited the Center. Approximately 12,000 of these visitors were youth under the age of 18.
  • 757 artists performed, displayed, taught or sold their artwork at the Center
  • The Center hosted over 32 live performances, 8 exhibits including student exhibitions.
  • The Center offered over 100 classes and workshops, 2 summer camps and a Kids Arts College in partnership with Paul D. Camp Community College.
  • The Center offered 10 student matinees for schools, 4 “artists in schools” programs for students to see productions keyed directly into the SOLs.
  • The Center offered over $10,000 in scholarships and programming through private donations to The Jimmy Spain Education Fund.

Top Goals for 2014-15

In 2015, we will continue advancing the Center’s mission and providing quality arts programming for our community.

  • Present a strong complement of arts classes offering opportunities for art instructors to teach at the Center.
  • Offer a variety of quality professional and community performances in our Birdsong Theater.
  • Offer a minimum of 6 gallery exhibits presenting the works of at least 100 artists, with many of the works offered for sale.
  • Support overall operations of the Center, including Jester’s Gallery Shop which offers a gallery for over 65 local and regional artists, as well as emerging artists, (majority from Virginia) to sell their artwork.
  • Support partnership with area schools exposing thousands of students to the arts.
  • Serve as a community arts venue.
  • Support arts outreach initiative to the under-served in Suffolk including Boys & Girls Club after school arts classes and "Percussion Power!" Steel Pan Drum Orchestra for at-risk youth.
  1. Youth Initiatives.  Due to budget cuts, many schools no longer offer student field trips. In response, the Center will work with local Public School systems to offer professional performances at the Center at no charge or at discounted rates for the students. Additionally, we will provide opportunities for student exposure to the arts by sending artists out to the schools through the Center’s “Artists in Schools” program.  Funding Needed: $40,000
  2. Offer scholarships for individuals to participate in educational opportunities offered at the Center including classes, private lessons, workshops and camps for art, music, dance and theater.  Funding Needed: $10,000
  3. The improvement and continuation of quality arts educational programming at the Center including Arts Classes, Workshops, Camps and Master Classes with Performers.  Funding Needed: $25,000
  4. Working with world percussionist Dr. Anthony Hailey, the Center offers an annual innovative Steel Band Ensemble Program to at-risk youth.  "Percussion Power!" offers the study of world music through instruction of steelpan music. All instruments and music are provided. The NEA funding for this project will be ending in the Spring of 2014.  We are seeking other sources to continue this worthwhile project.  Funding Needed: $10,000
  5. Continual maintenance for the approximately 75,000 square feet of the Center, a circa 1922 historic building Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Funding Needed: $50,000
Background Constructed in 1922, Suffolk High School closed its doors for the last time in 1990. The building sat neglected for well over a decade. A handful of Suffolk’s visionary citizens began to campaign for a cultural arts center to benefit the entire Suffolk community. In 1998, plans evolved for an adaptive-reuse of the building into the area’s only full-service cultural arts center—the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.


Out of the vision of a handful of citizens and following years of planning, fundraising and hard work, the deteriorating building began to breathe anew in August of 2004 when construction began for the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts (SCCA). The 24 million dollar project was made possible though state and federal historic tax credits, the City of Suffolk, a variety of grants and generous support from the private sector. Planning for the inaugural-season programming, art exhibitions, classes, events and activities began.


Since its grand opening in September 2006, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts has educated, entertained and enlightened tens of thousands of visitors from Suffolk, Hampton Roads and surrounding communities. SCCA programming and arts events attract new tourists to Suffolk and give locals added reasons to support their city’s revitalized downtown. Nothing has done more to build a sense of community in Suffolk than the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Hampton Roads
Western Tidewater and Northeast North Carolina
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. McLemore Birdsong Jr.
Company Affiliation Birdsong Peanuts
Term Jan 2017 to Jan 2020
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mr. Everett B. Birdsong Birdsong Corporation
Mr. McLemore Birdsong Jr.Retired
Mrs. Kimberly O. Butler Oliver's Pools, Inc.
Ms. Nora D. Butler Retired, Western Tidewater Community Services Board
Dr. George Cornell Practicing OB/GYN (now part time)
Mrs. Linda G. Doland Southern Bank
Mrs. Theresa Earles Suffolk Tourism
Mrs. Sharyn B. Flintoff Community Volunteer
Mr. Marcus Gersbach Marcus Gersbach & Co. LLC, president
Mr. James E. Gordon Fifth District Court Service Unit
Mr. James M. Habel IIIRetired, Smithfield Foods
Mr. J. Leslie Hall Allfirst – President
Mrs. Pearl B. Harrell Retired
The Honorable James S. Mathews Retired
Ms. Mardane McLemore Retired Engineer
Mr. Charles B. Pond IIIPresident, Nansemond Cold Storage
Mrs. Gin Staylor Retired School Teacher
Mrs. Tracie Thorndike Community Volunteer
Mrs. Betsy Totten TowneBank
Dr. Joseph L Verdirame Physician
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 20
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 10
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Under Development
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Mrs. Jackie W. Cherry

Jackie Walls Cherry 

Joined the staff of SCCA June 2006 as Director of Corp Sponsorship and Events. Jackie’s responsibilities include the negotiation and insurance of Center rental contracts, facilitate meetings between vendors, clients as related to all special events within the Center.

Prior to joining the SCCA, Ms. Cherry held senior positions within the Telecom Industry for 25 years. Her responsibilities included retention, new business, customer care, staff management, regional operations, sales, service, profit/loss and site selection. Highlights include manager of New Business Ventures for AT&T Corp Headquarters, N.J. identifying and developing programs to provide additional sources of revenues, consisting of new products/services, market identification and implementations. Ms. Cherry led a team in traffic building, advertising, revenue generation and budget control projects. 

Former CEOs
Mr. Michael Bollinger July 2004 - Dec 2008
Mr. Paul Lasakow Feb 2009 - Aug 2011
Senior Staff
Mrs. Susan F. Lawrence Director of Development
Full Time Staff 8
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 30
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 86
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
  • Classes for all ages and abilities in music, dance, theater, textiles, ceramics, photography, painting and fitness
  • Summer camps for children in visual and performing arts with leadership opportunities available to older children as counselors
  • "Kids' Arts College" offered in partnership with Paul D. Camp Community College - summer arts classes for children
  • Partner with local schools to provide quality field trips to our gallery exhibitions and special matinee performances of professional theatrical productions
  • "Artists in Schools" program, sending professional artists to local schools for performances, demonstrations and talks
  • Arts programming for students keyed directly to schools' curricula, supporting and complementing classroom learning
  • Scholarships available to individuals with demonstrated financial need to enable participation in arts classes and camps
  • "Percussion Power!" steel pan drum ensemble, program serving at-risk youth, offered tuition-free
  • Free or low-cost tickets available for many performances
  • Free admission to all gallery exhibits
  • Non-profit grant program, enabling local non-profits to use our facility for an event, rent-free
  • Present a variety of professional performers, including headliners,  emerging artists and local talent, in theater, music and dance
  • Community theater program
  • Venue for local arts groups and schools to perform in a professional theater
  • Visual arts exhibits in a variety of media presented in our two galleries, including works by local, regional and national/international artists
  • Exhibits focusing on local history and regional identity
  • Gallery space available for local arts and student groups to exhibit their works
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $1,176,950.00
Projected Expenses $1,176,950.00
Endowment Value $1,600.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$373,475$350,000$371,100
Individual Contributions$174,320$155,067$245,152
Investment Income, Net of Losses----$33
Membership Dues--$167,963--
Special Events$48,960$82,237$54,610
Revenue In-Kind$11,811$100--
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$503,315$520,167$566,601
Administration Expense$1,102,879$1,092,257$1,037,501
Fundraising Expense$74,305$79,283$116,009
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.670.670.65
Program Expense/Total Expenses30%31%33%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue10%12%17%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$18,937,033$19,454,513$20,022,154
Current Assets$499,568$419,527$387,735
Long-Term Liabilities$224,821$374,562$4,126,178
Current Liabilities$348,397$169,336$1,061,335
Total Net Assets$18,363,815$18,910,615$14,834,641
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.432.480.37
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%2%21%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Campaign Purpose To raise funds to repair and maintain a historic building.
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2016View
Organization Comments The Suffolk Center won the Dominion Art Star award which was given to only 2 arts organizations throughout the state of Virginia in recognition of its success in advancing the synergy of arts and education as well as demonstrating effective collaboration with area schools.
Foundation Comments
  • In 2012, the organization transitioned from a calendar fiscal year to a July-June fiscal year.
  • The financial analysis for 2012 represents the short fiscal year from 01/01/2012 - 06/30/2012.
  • In FY 2011, the organization received $2,228,500 in debt forgiveness.