The Mars Theatre’s restoration efforts officially received a boost last Wednesday.
The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI), an Atlanta-based outreach program created by The Fox Theatre, announced the Mars Theatre as one of its 2012-13 restoration projects. The Institute is providing grants to three theatres in Georgia in an effort to help preserve historic buildings, revitalize arts programs and strengthen local economies.
“We believe that helping struggling theatres open their doors will help revitalize a once-vibrant location in their cities,” said Molly Fortune, director of restoration at The Fox Theatre. “We see the long-term effects of thriving theatres as that catalyst for economic growth in their downtowns, which we hope will bring longevity to their cities, the state and the jobs these cities hold. The Fox was a struggling theatre at one time, but we survived and now have the knowledge to help other theatres become successful.”
The grant from FTI will help the Mars continue a multi-phase plan that includes rehabilitating the interior lobby and adding restrooms. The Mars has worked with a team of Savannah College of Art and Design students to construct a 3-D model of the building and prepare documentation that will allow it to be nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Other venues to receive grants were the Knox Theatre in Warrenton and The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts in Toccoa.
In addition to the preservation projects, FTI also will introduce The Georgia Historic Preservation Handbook, which will be available to anyone — from the average citizen to the advanced professional — who is looking to educate themselves on historic preservation.
The Georgia Historic Preservation Handbook is a collaborative effort between the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and The Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
“We identified a need for statewide education and aid in the area of preservation,” said Carmie McDonald, Program Manager for Fox Theatre Institute. “The goal of the handbook is to educate residents about historic preservation, the people that make it happen, and how anyone can join this vital movement.”
The handbook is available at http://www.foxtheatreinstitute.org/georgia-historic-preservation-handbook/.