Theater renovation projects happen in phases, and each phase requires planning and funding to be successful. Money from grant sources is a welcome occurrence but requires its own planning and application process—awards do not happen instantly and typically happen on a yearly basis. The League of Historic American Theaters recommends the following funding sources.
MJ Murdock Charitable Trust
One of the areas of interest to the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust is arts and culture. The focus when awarding grants for this topic are projects that enrich a cultural environment. The Rialto Community Theater located in Deer Lodge, Montana, was awarded a $300,00 grant from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust specifically to renovate the theater. Although the Trust's focus is not solely theater renovations, it is obvious that its priorities include this type of project. The Trust reports that about half of the grants and awards they make are given to capital improvement projects.
MJ Murdoch Charitable Trust 703 Broadway, Suite 710 Vancouver, WA 98660 360-694-8415
National Endowment For the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) includes assistance for theater renovations under their Design Arts Program. Its funding includes feasibility plans for adaptive reuse, restoration and renovation. Funding can also be obtained for theaters involved in the revitalization of cultural districts. Money is available for the planning of theater renovations but not actual construction materials and costs. Apply for grant money for historic preservation, urban and architectural studies and design planning through the NEA topic of “Design.”
National Endowment for the Arts 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C.20506-0001 202-682-5400 neh.gov
Save America's Treasures
Offered through the National Parks Service, the Save America's Treasures Grant Program includes theaters of historical significance. The program is a federal matching grant program designed to fund restoration projects across America. Matching programs require a two-part award—the grant funds a dollar amount and the theater project committee must locate a non-Federal match for funding. Theaters must have historical significance to qualify. See the National Park Service program details for further information on applying.
Historic Preservation Grants National Park Service 1201 "Eye" Street NW (2256) Washington, DC 20005 202-354-2020
Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.