GALLIPOLIS — Capital funding to the Ariel-Ann Carson Performing Arts Centre in Gallipolis has started Monday with repairs and renovation to the roof of the home of the Ohio Valley Symphony.
Gallia County projects are receiving $1.35 million after the state passed its capital budget bill. Both state Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, and state Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Sabina, supported the passage of the legislation in an effort to promote growth and economic stimulus to key southeast Ohio projects focused in community development, the arts and other local investments. The passage of the bill was originally announced in early May and officials have since started cutting checks to help with funding of projects.
According to center director Lora Snow, $200,000 has been set aside to help with the theater.
“Fixing the roof is just one of the projects,” Snow said. “We’re doing plaster work inside (the facility). Because plaster is so important to the acoustics (of the theater), it’s tantamount. We can’t do anything else until the roof is done, though.”
Snow is a lifelong oboist and commented that different types of material inside a performing area can often affect the quality of the performance due to the way sound waves bounce off construction materials.
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission is in charge of overseeing money spent on projects, according to Snow.
Some time will be spent focusing on the balcony in the theater. The mezzanine and balcony stairwell will be also be restored. Railings will be upgraded and carpeting added. Restrooms on the second floor of the theater will be restored.
Snow said ideally in the future the theater plans on adding audio and visual equipment to its arsenal in hopes of meeting visiting client needs as well as to meet the needs of facility’s symphony.
The Ariel Theater, as the performing arts center is sometimes called, is more than 120 years old. Cleanup of the building first started in 1988 after having fallen into disrepair. The building was purchased in 2005 by Ann Carson Dater and presented to the community for local use as a performing arts center. It was rededicated as the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre on April 22, 2006.
The original theater dedication occurred April 23, 1896. According to Snow, the facility once belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and then another point in time to lodges following the tradition of Freemasonry. In some parts of the theater, remaining masonic symbols can be still be seen etched into stonework.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.