The restoration project was one of the pilot projects undertaken by the FTI, which was launched in July 2008. FTI is a division of Atlanta Landmarks Inc., the owner and operator of Atlantas Fox Theatre. FTI seeks to provide a viable model for linking communities and historic performing venues by providing successful preservation and operations expertise and experience.
The DeSoto Theater has meant so much to so many lives in our community through the years, said Jo Heyman, a fixture in Romes arts community. Both she and her husband, Lyons, are big proponents of the DeSotos restoration and preservation.
We are so happy the DeSoto will be restored to its former glory so generations to come can enjoy attending concerts, plays and events in downtown Rome.
The Historic DeSoto Theater Foundation was formed to relieve the Rome Little Theatre of the tremendous burden of maintaining such a historic structure, said Paul Griffin, president of the Historic DeSoto Theater Foundation. This will allow them to concentrate on their mission of providing quality live theater to Rome and Northwest Georgia.
The foundation will facilitate the renovation and preservation of the historic DeSoto Theater through events, programs and education. Our goal is to not only bring the DeSoto back to its original grandeur, but to also create an economic impact for Rome."
Successful restorations of historic theaters inspire communities and have a positive impact on their cultural landscape, says Adina Erwin, assistant general manager of the Fox Theatre. The DeSoto is a wonderful example of how a theater restoration plays an integral part in the success of their citys overall Main Street approach.
Since its inception, FTI has been working closely with 15 historic theaters in cities around Georgia, including other member theaters in Brunswick, Canton, Dahlonega, Fitzgerald, Athens, Marietta, Americus, Calhoun, Thomaston, Augusta, Macon and Statesboro. FTI provides guidance to the theaters in areas including programming, preservation, community building, operations and economic development.
At FTI we feel we have a responsibility to lead by example, inspire other leaders and share the wisdom and resources from our own challenging past and successful present, Erwin said. In addition to vestibule restoration, FTI is working with the DeSoto Theater on programming and strategic planning assistance.
Guests at the event on Feb. 19 will get the first glimpse of the restored arcade, which is the first phase of a comprehensive restoration planned for the theater. Continued support from the Rome community, along with local and statewide partners, will ensure that the rest of the building, including the auditorium, is returned to its former glory.
About the Fox Theatre Institute
It is the mission of The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) to provide a viable model for linking communities and historic performing venues by providing successful preservation and operations expertise and experience. FTI seeks to be a nationally recognized leader in preservation and operations expertise for the building of theater audiences and economic revitalization resulting in strong communities. For more information, visit www.foxtheatreinstitute.org.
About the Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is one of Atlantas premiere venues for live entertainment. The Foxs 4,674 seat theatre is booked more than 300 performances out of the year. An impressive range of events from Broadway to concerts to operas, ballets and movies continue to attract more than 750,000 visitors per year. In addition, The Fox is host to wedding receptions, trade shows, corporate meetings and association functions in its ballrooms, lounge and outdoor terrace. As a not-for-profit arts organization, the Fox Theatre is a protected National Historic Landmark and a nationally acclaimed theater, and it celebrates its 80th year in 2009. Tickets for all events are available at The Fox Theatre box office or for group sales information contact The Fox Theatre at (404) 881-2000, or visit The Fox Theatre website at www.foxtheatre.org. The Fox Theatre is located at 660 Peachtree St.
About the Historic DeSoto Theater Foundation
The Historic DeSoto Theater Foundations mission is to facilitate a community effort to restore, maintain and operate the Desoto Theater as a cultural, historical and economic asset.
The goal of the foundation is to provide the necessary organization and structure for the renovation and preservation of the Historic DeSoto Theater through events, programs and education. All efforts are directed toward restoring and maintaining the DeSoto in a historic and accurate representation that respects the facility as a tremendous community asset. For more information about the HDTF contact Jim Powell at (706)346-2532