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Local theaters, arts community dimming the lights for the late Judd Herberger

Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 05, 2021

PHOENIX — Local art organizations and theaters will dim their lights on Friday to honor philanthropist Judd Herberger.

Herberger died last week from heart failure.

But, according to the art community, his legacy will live on.

Herberger and his wife, Billie Jo, spent decades donating money and going to events supporting the arts.

"I'd love seeing him here and being able to spend time with him," said Mark Mettes, president and CEO of the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix.

According to Mettes, the Herberger family built the theater in the 1980s. He said he remembers hearing stories about how Judd Herberger worked on the grand staircase the night before they opened to the public.

"It was very difficult to get the ball rolling, so their stepping up and being part of it really helped us get the theater going," Mettes said.

The support from the Herbergers has helped keep the art community afloat in the Valley, according to Mettes.

He said the family is especially passionate about helping kids.

"It's that ongoing help to support our outreach programs, our education programs and to really say this is really important to keep going," he said.

On Friday, more than a dozen theaters plan to participate in dimming the lights in Herberger's honor.

"You know, a lot of the art organizations around the Valley are where they are because of their assistance, their support, quite honestly," said Geri Wright, Arizona Theater Company's managing director.

"It's sad. He was a wonderful man. The family, in general, was so supportive of the arts," she added.