Wayne Theatre Alliance names center for donors Paul and Virginia Ross
Bill Hausrath, chair of the Wayne Theatre Alliance, announced on Monday that the renovated Wayne Theatre will be named The Paul and Virginia Ross Center for the Performing Arts at the Wayne Theatre. Hausrath said that WTA’s Board of Directors wanted to honor the exceptional support the Wayne Project received from Virginia (Jinny) Ross and her son David.
“At the 11th hour of pulling the final funding together, it was Jinny Ross who made it possible for the Alliance to meet the requirements imposed by the tax credit investors. Without her support and that of her son David, the reopening of the Wayne Theatre could never have happened,” said Hausrath. “We think it is most appropriate to mark that incredible contribution to Waynesboro and its future by naming the center for Jinny and her husband Paul who have given of their time and resources to the community.”
Virginia (Jinny) Ross was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1918. She graduated from Indiana University and married a young General Electric engineer, Paul Ross in 1941 and moved with him to the company’s headquarter in Schenectady, New York, where their son David was born. Paul Ross continued with GE and was, for a period of time, the manager of Waynesboro’s GE facility. He eventually became a Vice President for GE and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. While being a mother and wife, Jinny was involved in many civic groups and developed a passion for antiques and art. When Paul retired from GE, they moved back to Waynesboro where he managed Virginia Panel beginning in 1971. He died in 2001.
When not playing bridge or rock collecting or golfing or dancing, Jinny collected antiques, some of which she sold at a Waynesboro shop in which she was a partner. Jinny is known for her fashion scene. She is always coordinated and never appears in public without a hat. She was also known for driving her Carmen Ghia or her Cadillac sedan about town. She only gave driving up in her 90s when she was hospitalized and could not get to the DMV to renew her license.
Jinny has been an outstanding supporter of her adopted town. She is a generous supporter of the Shenandoah Valley Art Center, the Waynesboro Heritage Museum, the Waynesboro YMCA, the Wayne Theatre Alliance and many other community organizations and projects.
The naming of the reopened facility as the Ross Center for the Performing Arts recognizes that the renovations of the 1926 vaudeville theatre will be more than an auditorium. “The Alliance’s three-year operation of WTA’s Gateway (now the site of the P. Buckley Moss Museum) demonstrated the need for venues for small performances and lectures as well as an auditorium for larger productions,” said Dr. Clair Myers, Executive Director of the Wayne Theatre Alliance. “When the negotiations for the tax credits caused the Alliance to pause in the reconstruction, it took a new look at the renovation plans for the Wayne and made some crucial changes. The new plan includes not only the 385 seat auditorium, but a small 50 to 75 seat performance space (The Custin Cabaret), a lecture room and an upscale meeting room. The renovated building will indeed be a performing arts center.”
The Alliance will begin programming in the Ross Center in early 2016. A full range of events, programs and performances will be scheduled in the three public spaces in the Center. The Alliance continues to raise funds for equipment and furnishings for the Ross Center.