Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) is celebrating 2013 National Historic Preservation Month by Celebrating Historic Theaters in Colorado Communities. Throughout May, DCI will highlight historic theaters that have successfully converted to a digital projector.
SHERBINO COMMUNITY THEATER
“Think Globally, Party Locally”
(Motto for the Emergency New Year’s Eve Party)
City: Ridgway, CO
Historic Structure: Yes, Originally and currently Sherbino Theater
Year Built: 1915
Private Non-Profit: Ridgway Chautauqua Society Inc.
Recognizing their community as a resource, the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway, CO has successful survived the many pressures of Hollywood and the evolution of digital movie production. Louis Sherbino and his son built the theater in 1915. On August 27, 1915 the Ouray Heral reported, “The new theater being erected by Louis Sherbino and son is nearing completion and will be ready for the opening show and dance the first week in September. The theater will be one of the most up-to-date on the Western Slope, with comfortable chairs, best of lighting fixtures, perfect ventilation and an ideal floor for dancing.” It wasn’t until 2009 that the theater had to close their doors. A brief re-opening as the White Horse Saloon was the first attempt to maintain the theater operations, but in 2011 the doors were closed again.
EMERGENCY NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY & COMMUNITY SUPPORT
In December 2011 the threat of permanent closure encouraged immediate action. An “Emergency New Year’s Eve Party” was held at the theater where two breweries donated beer, newspapers ran discounted ads, and local liquor stores donated additional refreshments. Through the support of Facebook and social media, over 200 people showed up, this was the catalyst that saved the Sherbino Theater. It was clear that this theater was important to the community.
The non-profit group, Ridgway Chautauqua Society Inc., was created in February 2012 to assume the lease on the property. With the help of a tax incentive program the theater was able to offer programs and memberships for donors in order to make maintain the building and convert to digital technology. An anonymous donor provided $25,000 in dollar-for-dollar, matching funds. It was matched on December 31, 2012.
It was clear that the theater needed to convert to digital in order to afford to show films, lectures and DirectTV. An important strategy for the conversion included a business and technical plan for future upgrades to stay up to date with the movie industry technology and movies. Partnerships were formed with other nonprofit organizations that use the venue for their events and the two large film festivals held in nearby Telluride have been supportive partners in bringing in films.
Emphasis on the community and local businesses has also been important for the survival of the theater. The community played a vital role in the renovations, which included numerous volunteers that helped paint, clean, plaster, and install new equipment. The theater will remain a community space and is open for events, concerts and parties.
For more information visit: http://www.sherbinotheater.com/