College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

New Barnet Courtyard Offers Space for Art and Respite

Rebecca, Valerie and Bill BarnetThe Barnet Courtyard at the College of Charleston officially opened with a celebration on April 15, 2012. The Courtyard is located near the Simons Center for the Arts near the corner of St. Philip and George Streets, with entrances on both. The garden is named for Bill and Valerie Barnet, strong supporters of the arts and the College of Charleston.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Barnets, we have this beautifully enhanced ‘greenspace’ to enjoy,” says School of the Arts Dean Valerie Morris. “The stage and sculpture areas are wonderful additions that will allow the School of the Arts faculty, staff, students and alumni to present intimate performances and exhibits, transforming this area of the campus into a true ‘arts corridor’.”

The Barnet Courtyard includes a stained concrete performance pad, sculpture garden, benches, and a large lawn. The courtyard was designed as a venue for small events and performances, like strings or jazz concerts, as well as a place for faculty to hold classes outside.

“Bill and I are passionate about supporting the arts and arts education,” says Valerie Barnet. “We hope that our donation will be an extension of the Marion and Wayland H. Cato, Jr. Center for the Arts – a place for everything from quiet relaxation and reflection to artistic creation and expression.”

Bill and Valerie Barnet are longtime friends of the College of Charleston. Valerie graduated from the College in 1984. She is an avid horticulturist and volunteer serving on many boards, including Spoleto Festival USA.

Bill Barnet is the CEO of The Barnet Company and Barnet Development Company, as well as the former mayor of Spartanburg, S.C.  Prior to being elected President and CEO of William Barnet & Son, Inc. in 1976, Mr. Barnet served as 1st Lieutenant, US Army and Adjutant General’s Corps. Mr. Barnet has served on civic boards such as the Education Oversight Committee (Chairman), Leadership Spartanburg (Chairman), South Carolina Textile

Manufacturers Association (President) and The Spartanburg County Foundation (Trustee). His current board involvement includes the Palmetto Business Forum, ETV Communications Endowment, Palmetto Institute, The Duke Endowment, and Duke Energy.

The Barnets have three children: Mary Rebecca, Will and John.

For more information, contact Ashley Jones Smith at 843.953.5348.