GLOVERSVILLE - Jennifer Rowland has been a volunteer at the Glove Performing Arts Center for about one year. While she is now volunteering as the executive director at the North Main Street theater, Rowland said she is just one among a group of dedicated volunteers working to keep the venue open and active.
"Every day that we stay open, we are creating another day of history," she said.
It has certainly been an interesting year or so for the Glove.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Jennifer Rowland, executive director at the Glove Performing?Arts Center, stands in front of the marquee at the theater March 5 on North Main Street in Gloverville.
In February 2009, the theater embarked on an initiative to raise $200,000 to keep the facility open. The S.O.S. - Save Our Stage - campaign tried to raise the money by March 31 of that year to ensure it had a summer schedule.
While campaign only raised about $25,000, the theater was able to stay open and offer entertainment.
Rowland said the GPAC has managed to raise about a third of the $200,000 it targeted.
Glove Board President Mark Finkle said considering that when the campaign started the theater was near the verge of bankruptcy, things are good now.
"We're no longer in survival mode," he said. "We know the theater's going to be open."
The theater is to the point now, Rowland said, where the volunteers are determining how much it will cost to get scaffolding into the theater, the first step in getting the walls inside the building replaced. She said the volunteers have records of how the inside of the building looked 100 years ago, so any renovations they make can be historically accurate.
In a column published Feb. 23 in The Leader-Herald, Rowland wrote that while repairing the walls of the theater was an issue, the venue had many other issues to deal with as well.
She wrote that the volunteers, "as stewards of this historic venue, it is our responsibility to see that the structural maintenance and repair issues are dealt with in the order of their importance to safety and long-term preservation. So the walls must wait - for now."
In the column, Rowland pointed out the amount of work that has been done on the structure.
"The stage has been rebuilt. There is now a proper orchestra pit, and the stage, wings and ramp up to the wings are safe and sturdy for the performers. Since the theater was first opened for renovation in 1997, the ceiling and stage prosceniums have been repaired and repainted. The floors of the theater now have radiant heat," she wrote.
In addition, a furnace in an adjacent tenant space was replaced, and repairs have been made to the furnace that heats the theater.
Rowland said based on feedback the volunteers have received, the walls have taken on a higher priority. She said no other renovation will be done until the walls get started.
"The walls are the big thing the community wants done," she said.
Rowland said feedback from the community is one thing the theater and its 15 or so volunteers could use more of. Not to mention volunteering and donations.
"It is in everyone's best interest to see this theater succeed," she said.
Since she started volunteering at the theater, Rowland said she has been surprised at the lack of community involvement with the theater. While there has been an increase in volunteers over the last few months, she said it can be disheartening to know there are people who could do more.
"Help from the community is the only way [renovations] are getting done," she said.
However, she understands many people are frustrated and reluctant to get involved in a project that has been going on since 1997. Still, feedback - whether criticisms or suggestions or anything else - is something people can offer.
"We need to know what people want to see," she said.
Rowland said whenever the theater does something with children or young adults, it seems to be a success.
She mentioned the success of a fundraiser held at the Glove on Feb. 27 that was entirely organized by local bands, as an example.
She said ultimately the theater should be around in the future to provide the entire community with a stage.
"Volunteers are always welcome because that is all we have," she said.
Finkle said in the next couple of weeks the theater will begin its search for season sponsors. Having those sponsors would allow the theater to budget its funds more precisely and ease some concern about paying monthly bills.
The theater has turned a corner, he said. While there is more work to be done, Finkle said he feels good about the theater's direction.
"I'm very upbeat about the future," he said.
Rowland noted the building will be 100 years old in 2014.
According to the theater's Web site - www.glovetheatre.org - it was built Oct. 9, 1914. It was created to accommodate a variety of live performances, including opera and orchestral performances. The theater was converted into a vaudeville house in 1920.