CHAMPAIGN — In the last two days, people have pitched in to help save part of a historic theater. The Art Theater has been a fixture downtown for more than a century, but it needs some help to give its marquee a fresh look. Organizers wanted to raise $10,000 to fix it up. They thought it would take a month to get that much, but just about 27 hours after the fundraiser launched, they were already over their goal.
The marquee on the front of the theater has weathered its share of storms in the last 104 years. There’s wiring that doesn’t work like it used to, neon failing, and since it’s used every day, theater workers say it’s just worn out. It even got hit by a truck. Theater leaders realized short term fixes weren’t enough, so they wanted to do a big renovation.
“We love the patrons that come to the theater and to see that kind of love coming back to us in a very short campaign has been really overwhelming response,” said Alicia Kozma, who is the volunteer special projects manager.
The city of Champaign is matching the first $10,000 donated, so they’re up to more than $20,000 already. Just because they’ve reached their goal doesn’t mean they’re done. They plan to keep the fundraiser going. Any extra money will help with other maintenance projects, like updating the carpet, fixing curtains, adding a stage and lighting and upgrading the bathrooms. They say they want the theater to look as good as the other buildings downtown and they’re excited to see what happens from here.
If you want to check out the fundraising page, click here.