Inside Rensselaer
* A New Look for the Proctor’s Theatre Façade
Volunteers from Rensselaer recently helped paint the front of the Proctor’s Theatre. Photo Credit: Rensselaer/ Jessica Ottitigbe
A New Look for the Proctor’s Theatre Façade

The historic Proctor’s Theatre building in downtown Troy is getting ready for an artistic facelift, thanks to the efforts of some members of the Rensselaer campus community and a group of artists who live and work in Troy.

Earlier this fall, Erin Crotty, director of community relations, was contacted by Debra Lockrow, a local artist and owner of ArtCentric Gift Gallery, located across the street from the theater. Lockrow suggested the idea of developing a public art project on plywood that would cover Proctor’s boarded windows, and worked with some artists to present several sketches to Rensselaer.

“This is not the first time that Rensselaer has received requests from community members regarding an art project on Proctor’s,” said Crotty. “The Institute position has consistently been supportive of public art projects at Proctor’s that are developed in partnership with the university. Presently, the redevelopment project for Proctor’s is moving forward, but will continue to be in the planning phase for a number of months, so this seemed like an ideal time to showcase a public art project on the facade that is compatible with the timing of the redevelopment project.”

Last month, Crotty, along with several volunteers from the Rensselaer campus community including Grand Marshal Michael Zwack; Allison Newman, associate vice president, external relations and administration; Janelle Fayette, acting dean of the First-Year Experience; and Jessica Otitigbe, media relations specialist, spent two hours re-painting the plywood on the Proctor’s façade and priming the plywood that would be used by the artists. A total of 10 volunteer hours were spent on preparing Proctor’s for the public art installation, and the Rensselaer administration provided the paint, painting supplies, and plywood needed for the project.

Plans are under way to paint up to eight 4-by-6-foot panels that will be hung on the boarded-up windows of the theater. Members of the Rensselaer campus and surrounding community are invited to attend the official unveiling event that will be held on Dec. 2 in front of Proctor’s.

Proctor’s Theatre began as a “high-class vaudeville” theater and eventually started showing movies. In its heyday, Proctor’s Theatre showcased such stars as Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Jimmy Durante. It closed in 1977.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 13, November 20, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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