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Part of the future

Curator sees city, theater moving forward together

March 13, 2011
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - At the Glove Performing Arts Center, Richard Samrov is interested in looking toward the theater's future.

Samrov, the acting executive director, said he is well versed in the past of the theater. He is the curator of the museum, filled with memorabilia that tell the story of the location's 96 years.

"[The GPAC] is part of the future," he said. "This city will grow, as well as the theater."

Article Photos

The Glove Performing Arts Center is shown Wednesday on North?Main?Street in Gloversville.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

Samrov, a volunteer, took over as executive director in June. He noted it is a team effort among the more than 25 volunteers, including the board of directors, to keep the center running.

The hard work of recent years in getting the center back in shape means it is not in danger of shutting down, he said.

"We're open and we're making it," Samrov said.

To encourage more people to attend events, he said, the theater needs to be a venue for everything. It has to offer more than just plays and movies, he said.

"To be financially secure, we need everything," Samrov said.

Some of the more unconventional uses for the space have included various holiday celebrations and even having religious services inside.

Love City

In?September, Love City Fellowship, a new church, officially started having services at the center.

Pastor Tim?Cox said Thursday working with the theater's Board of Directors at the theater has been great. The two groups have found ways to accommodate each other, he said.

"I have no complaints with the board," Cox said.

He said it has been an interesting experience for the church, to essentially transform a theater every week into a church, then convert it back again.

However, it fits Love City.

"We set out to be untraditional," Cox said.

While the church is working on acquiring the former Jewish?Community Center on East Fulton?Street, Cox said, it plans to be at the Glove until the deal is done.

Samrov said attendance at events fluctuates based on the event. While some events will draw about 20 people, others can draw 100 or more. As examples of the latter, he noted an Easter event last year got more than 100 children to come inside the Center. Beatlemania, a tribute act to the rock band The Beatles, also did very well, he said.

Samrov said an interesting thing tends to happen once people come inside the theater. They realize what a terrific place it is, and its capability to be a gem downtown, he said.

"When people come, they fall in love with [the theater]" Samrov said. "When it grabs you, you want to take care of it."

In February 2009, the theater embarked on an initiative to raise $200,000 to keep the facility open by paying off debts and taking care of the most pressing structural issues. 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 the campaign only raised $25,000 initially, it was enough for the theater to stay open and offer entertainment. It was reported last year the theater had raised about a third of the $200,000 targeted.

Samrov said the theater is still collecting funds for the S.O.S. campaign, but was unsure of how much overall has been collected. When a donation is made, he said, it goes into a fund specifically for S.O.S.

Last year, the theater was interested in determining the cost to have scaffolding brought in, the first step in replacing the walls inside the structure.

Samrov said the walls will be done eventually. The center just needs to raise the money to do them.

He said there are a variety of other cosmetic improvements that are being planned as well, including work on the men's bathroom and enclosing the concession stand.

In?October, the theater was given more than 700 seats that were worth about $180,000. The seats were once part of the Cohoes High School auditorium. They were donated by the Albany-construction company Eastern Building & Renovation Inc., which was worked on a renovation and addition project at the Cohoes City School District.

Samrov said Wednesday he was going to meet with an installer that day, who wanted to check the floor - which has radiant heat - before proceeding with any work.

While arts can be a tough sell anywhere, Samrov said, there has been continued support for the theater from the community.

"We've been doing very well lately," he said.

The theater has a variety of events coming up, including: a craft fair March 26, a tribute to Patsy Cline on April 13, and Drama-Fest on April 29, where students from local schools will participate in workshops covering all aspects of theater, such as acting, make-up and lighting.

The Glove was built in 1914 and has been the venue for everything from operas and orchestras to Vaudeville and films.

It was shuttered in the 1970s when movie ticket sales declined, and it was nearly demolished to make room for a parking lot in 1995.



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