Proctors Collaborative, Palace Performing Arts Center and the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall have joined with other historic theaters across upstate New York to form a coalition seeking $20 million in state support.
Called Alive Downtowns!, the group is made up of 13 performing arts centers stretching from Jamestown to Poughkeepsie. Leaders from the venues have been meeting virtually since the pandemic began and beyond securing operating support from New York State, they hope to highlight the public benefits the historic theaters have to residents around the state.
“In meeting with local legislators and the Governor’s office, the response has been very supportive,” said Philip Morris of Proctors Collaborative in a statement. “The coalition is grateful for that response and hopes to reach all state elected officials to assure an annual appropriation that will allow its members [to] continue to be part of growing upstate downtowns guaranteeing accessibility for all citizens for years to come.”
Members of the coalition include Bardavon 1896 Opera House (Poughkeepsie), Clemens Center (Elmira), Palace Performing Arts Center (Albany), Proctors Collaborative (Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga), The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts (Jamestown), Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s Auditorium Theatre (Rochester), Shea’s Performing Arts Center (Buffalo), The Smith Center for the Arts (Geneva), Stanley Theatre (Utica), State Theatre of Ithaca, Syracuse Area Landmark Theatre, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and Ulster Performing Arts Center (Kingston).
Combined, these facilities serve over 5 million people annually including thousands of students. Their aggregate budgets exceed $100 million and their economic impacts for upstate’s major downtowns conservatively exceed $350 million, according to a statement from the group.
“This group of performing arts centers are economic, educational and cultural engines in Upstate. We are hoping the state can make a modest investment in us that will pay huge dividends,” said Chris Silva, long-time executive director of the Bardavon 1896 Opera House.
Alive Downtowns! is an affiliate corporation to the Upstate Theater Coalition for a Fairgame, which was established eight years ago in response to the establishment of casinos in the eastern and southern tiers of the state. For more information visit afairgame.net.