Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts

Because of Altamont's long-standing dedication to and perpetuation of the Arts, we have a responsibility to serve as an Arts Center for our students and the greater Birmingham community. With this responsibility and a thriving and ever-expanding Arts Program came the need for updated, improved, and enlarged Arts spaces. Thanks to the generosity and legacy of such donors as the Cabaniss Family, the Hugh Kaul Foundation, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Pharo Family, and the Day and Lacey Families, the spaces on campus where the Arts came to life now have a whole new life of their own. The Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts provides Altamont students with the best, the most accessible, and the most innovative spaces for taking full advantage of our Fine Arts Program.

Enhancements to the Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts include new lighting, audio-visual equipment, and acoustical elements, as well as theatre-style seating for 500 guests. Theatre and the Visual Arts will share a new two-story "back-of-house" addition to the existing building, allowing Faculty to collaborate when teaching skills in set construction, painting, lighting, and prop design. The new Pharo Art Studio offers more natural light and enough space for students to refine their skills in 3-D design, sculpture, multi-media, filmmaking, kiln firing, and much more. The additions of space introduce an interesting domino effect on Altamont's campus, allowing existing spaces to be repurposed for the cutting edge Lacey-Day Photography Studio. With the renovations also comes the Margaret Gresham Livingston Gallery, a new permanent gallery for displaying student art work and hosting community exhibits. This gallery, which opens onto the Hames Gallery, effectively marries and interweaves Altamont's art collection with the work of our students, showcasing the depth and breadth of their talents.


William J. Cabaniss, Sr.

In the 1950s, William J. Cabaniss, Sr. served on the Board of Trustees at Brooke Hill School and was instrumental in the growth of the School. He helped to raise funds for the fourth location of the School, which was located where Altamont is today. Mr. and Mrs. Cabaniss had two girls who attended Brooke Hill. Joan Cabaniss Harrison graduated in 1954 and was the recipient of the Brooke Hill Cup, and Florence Cabaniss Parnegg graduated from Brooke Hill in 1959. Florence remembers her father teaching her the importance of volunteerism and giving back to the community, which is still ingrained in her to this day. Mr. Cabaniss also had a son, William “Bill” J. Cabaniss, Jr., who married Catherine Caldwell Cabaniss from the Class of 1957. One of Bill’s professional accomplishments was serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2004-2006. Catherine is an artist and some of her pieces are prominently displayed at Altamont. The Cabaniss Fine Arts Center was dedicated in the 1990s, and it will be rededicated as the Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts in the spring of 2014. Mr. Cabaniss and Mr. Kaul were best of friends, and the new name of the Arts center is appropriate in recognizing decades of service and generosity.

Hugh Kaul

Hugh Kaul was a highly respected businessman in the timber industry and was also a civic leader and generous philanthropist. He joined the Trustees of the Brooke Hill School in the 1950’s, was instrumental in the merger of Brooke Hill and Birmingham University School, and served as a Trustee for 40 years. In 1990, Altamont named Hugh Kaul its first Lifetime Trustee of the School. Mr. Kaul passed away in 1991, leaving his legacy of philanthropy through the Hugh Kaul Foundation. The Foundation supports worthy cultural, educational, and civic endeavors in the Greater Birmingham area, and Clay and Coosa Counties in Alabama. Altamont has received campus funds and teacher support from the Foundation for decades. Mr. Kaul’s wisdom, generosity, and loyalty will resonate on Altamont’s campus forever. Perhaps a dedication from the 1967 Brooke Hill year book best conveys this continued gratitude: “We... wish to express our deepest appreciation to Mr. Kaul for his unselfish efforts on our behalf... We can truthfully say that he is one of the greatest among us, for he is the servant of all.”