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Late legendary singer Otis Redding used his talent to transform the world of music, and a new space being created in his honor will inspire generations of artists to do the same. The Otis Redding Foundation recently unveiled plans to build a performing arts center in the heart of Georgia.

The 9,000-square-foot facility—dubbed the Otis Redding Center for the Arts and Amphitheater—will serve as a space to foster innovation. Putting the focus on empowering youth through music and other forms of creative expression, the Macon-based center will harbor studios and art labs for students to explore the different elements of production, songwriting and performing. Using the arts to cultivate community, it will include an outdoor amphitheater that will serve as a gathering space.

Redding’s wife Zelma—who founded the Otis Redding Foundation 15 years ago to advance her husband’s philanthropic efforts—says the center will be a continuation of his mission to uplift youth. The foundation also runs a summer camp for youth 12-18 over the course of 11 days in Macon, Ga.

“Educating children through music was a dream of my husband’s,” she shared in a statement. “He would have been proud of the Foundation’s programs that emphasize creativity and inspiration.”

The project is being funded by a $1 million gift from Zelma and donations from the Knight Foundation and the Griffith Foundation.

Beyond his music, Redding was known for paying it forward. The Georgia native, who had hits like “Try a Little Tenderness” and “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” provided scholarships and financial support for underprivileged children. His life was tragically cut short in 1967 during a plane crash. However, his legacy lives on through artists who have used their craft to inspire.


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