Deadline extended for $500,000 grant program to restore historic theaters

By David Pendered

The Fox Theatre Institute has extended the application deadline for a grant program that is offering up to $500,000 in grants to restore historic theaters across Georgia.

Plaza Theatre

The iconic marquee above the Plaza Theatre, along Ponce de Leon Avenue, was restored with a grant from the Fox Theatre Initiative. File/Credit: Kelly Jordan

The deadline was extended to Aug. 15. No information about the reason for the extension was provided on the grants application page on the Fox Theatre’s website.

This year marks the FTI’s largest ever preservation grant funding, according to a statement from the theatre. Up to $500,000 is available to qualifying venues in the 2017/18 season.

The expansion of the program is part of the institute’s strategic plan to increase its impact and outreach.

Since the FTI was launched in 2008, the Fox Theatre has committee more than $1 million to its overall outreach program. Of this amount, $360,000 has been applied to 1projects that restored theaters around the state.

The goal of the grant program reaches beyond simply restoring old structures. Here’s how FTI describes the program’s broader goals of restoring communities:

  • “A vibrant theater thrives as the cornerstone of a historic downtown district lined with bustling shops, favorite restaurants, cocktail bars, and plenty of parking – all of whom benefit immeasurably from a season of sold-out shows.
  • “From creating new jobs, both within the theater and in surrounding businesses, to helping revitalize declining downtown districts, restoring these venues often results in saving much more than an historic structure.
  • “FTI works to help these struggling theaters and communities, to build a framework of support that will sustain these beloved structures, as well as the businesses and communities that surround them, for generations to come.”

One local landmark shines brightly after receiving support from the FTI – the iconic and historic marquee above the Plaza Theatre, according to a project list. The other projects are:

desota theatre rome

The DeSoto Theatre in Rome won an award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in 2009, following a paint and plaster restoration funded by the FTI. Credit: pinterest.com

  • “The DeSoto Theatre in Rome received historic paint analysis and restoration of original paint and decorative plaster, which earned the theatre an award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in 2009.
  • “The Grand Theatre in Fitzgerald received funding to complete the restoration of their original stained glass light fixtures and its authentic Barton theatre organ.
  • “The Morton Theatre in Athens worked with FTI to restore their original auditorium flooring.
  • “The Ritz Theatre in Brunswick was able to retain and restore their historic wood windows, along with its iconic marquee.
  • “The Schaefer Center in Toccoa received funding for the creation of a preservation plan.
  • “FTI funding supported the purchase of new roof for the Knox Theatre in Warrenton.
  • “The Mars Theatre in Springfield received funding for the restoration of their lobby and the addition of ADA restrooms.
  • “FTI funding supported a complete façade restoration at the President Theatre in Manchester, Georgia.

    ritz theatre, toccoa

    The Historic Ritz Theatre at the Schaefer Center received FTI funding for its marquee. Credit: negaconcerts.com

  • “The Holly Theatre in Dahlonega is currently working with FTI to retrofit their original marquee with energy efficient lighting.
  • “The Imperial Theatre in Augusta received grant funding to purchase a new lighting board.
  • “In 2016, the Miller Theatre in Augusta received assistance with their pre-construction costs.
  • “FTI provided the Douglass Theatre in Macon a grant to convert their marquee to LED.
  • “In Madison, Georgia, the Madison Morgan Cultural Center’s grant funding restored the building’s windows.
  • “The Schaefer Center, now the Ritz Theatre, in Toccoa received FTI funding to fabricate a new marquee.”

The other uses of the $1 million-plus include the “Fox in a Box” free interactive curriculum-based resource for elementary schools, and Georgia Presenters, a statewide consortium for booking theatrical talent.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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