Campaign for the New Century
At the Bardavon, the land of metaphor, things are often not what they seem. Those who know of its roots in the Depression have referred to the theater's reconstructed 1931 marquee as “a beacon of hope for the city”. The stage has been called “a world of imagination, a fantasy classroom”. So it is conceivable that, to us, the new sidewalk beneath the marquee is something else.
We like to think of The Esplanade Walk of Fame as a friendship quilt signed by many who have shared the beauty, inspiration, pleasure and good company that abounds here. Their names and phrases are indelibly written in the theater’s history on granite squares, rectangles and triangles in colors with exotic names – carnelian, mountain green, academy black.
Running through the center of the design, and through three centuries, is an ornate path that recalls generations of renowned Collingwood and Bardavon performers – from John Barrymore to Al Pacino, Lillian Russell to Lily Tomlin, Jascha Heifetz to Itzhak Perlman. As the dedication stone states, "The presence of the legendary artists and personalities remembered here still lingers in this historic hall." Like a friendship quilt, the Esplanade renders the work of a community into a work of art.
Alongside founders Stephen and Julia Dunwell, who in 1975 led the charge to rescue and reinstate the Bardavon, the dedication stone of the Esplanade honors seven major donors whose leadership gifts and pledges have provided a strong platform of capital support toward the current Campaign for the New Century: The Dyson Foundation, New York State, Dutchess County, the City of Poughkeepsie, the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, the McCann Foundation, and the Jeanette F. Schlobach Charitable Trust.
The Campaign for the New Century was launched in 2002 with cornerstone grants from The Dyson Foundation and the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust. Its charge was to provide funding for the structural stabilization, renovation and fire separation of the stagehouse complex, which encompasses the entire backstage area behind and including the proscenium wall. Completed by 2006, the scope of work included phased restoration, replacements and upgrades for two major interrelated systems: the grid/fly system infrastructure and the heating/ventilating/air conditioning (HVAC) system. An investigative study of the paint layers, decorative finishes, and other elements of the 1923 decor funded by the National Endowment for the Arts was completed in 2005. This research is preliminary to an authentic restoration of the Bardavon's elegant interior and signature Shakespearean mural, offering us an irresistible temptation to launch yet one more capital campaign in future years.
The New York State listing on the Esplanade dedication stone acknowledges the generous ongoing capital support of several individual State agencies: the NYS Council on the Arts (NYSCA) through its Capital Program; the NYS Energy Research & Development Authority; and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, which has awarded the Bardavon four major capital grants over the last decade. A Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act grant awarded by this agency provides funding for the grid/fly system renovation. This generous support was secured by the administration of Commissioner Bernadette Castro with the advocacy of Senator Stephen M. Saland, whose constant efforts have also provided substantial ongoing program support in the form of NYS Legislature member items.
In the auditorium and inner lobby are seven new emergency exit door units replicated from 1923 blueprints funded through a NYSCA capital grant matched by the City of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County. The City’s 2004 and 2005 CDBG allocations were dedicated to the HVAC System renovations. Note that beyond capital, NYSCA supports the Bardavon substantially through these other program areas, and that the County provides multi-track support via the Dutchess County Arts Council Fund. The acknowledgement of Dutchess County on the dedication stone also expresses our appreciation for major capital grants from the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency.
The stone goes on to say, "The friendship of those who generously support its [the Bardavon’s] restoration and preservation lives on with every performance that takes the stage." A roster of foundations, corporations and government agencies that support the theater’s performances and programs can be accessed by clicking here. The donors named on the dedication stone are prominent in this listing, as well – a clear indication of their enlightened leadership. We are infinitely grateful for the depth and extent of their generosity, and for the gifts of each and every friend of the Bardavon.
In 2007, the Bardavon merged UPAC into our corporate and management structure to bring more diverse and stellar performances to a greater Hudson Valley audience. As the Bardavon’s “second stage”, UPAC offers ample space, not only a 1,500 seat capacity (the Bardavon seats 944), but also two expansive lobbies and a new artists Green Room. Over the years, more than $9 million has been spent on capital renovations and improvements for the Bardavon. We now concentrate our resources on continuing to restore, preserve and upgrade the UPAC – maximizing its safety, comfort, and accessibility for all.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s comment, “Without some sort of financial assistance, the Broadway Theater (UPAC) may only be preserved in memories …” continues as a call to action. Generous grants from government and private sector sources supported preliminary phases of our capital improvement plan for UPAC. Summer 2006 saw the restoration of the storefronts and masonry of the façade building. This work was supported by a HUD grant through Congressman Hinchey together with NYS Legislature Member Item and Community Capital Assistance Program (C-Cap) grants initiated by Senator Bill Larkin and Senator John Bonacic, as well as CDBG funding through the City of Kingston. Congressman Hinchey also secured substantial HUD funding toward the recent stagehouse renovation at the Bardavon. A NYS C-Cap grant sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland provided for electrical phases of the Bardavon stagehouse project which was also aided through a NYS Member Item from Assemblyman Thomas Kirwan.
In 2007 the relocation/upgrade of UPAC’s auditorium sound mix station to make way for an orchestra level wheelchair seating area was made possible by a major combined capital/program grant from the Dyson Foundation. In 2008 a New York State C-Cap grant through Assemblyman Kevin Cahill funded the renovation of the UPAC’s projection booth with the anticipated acquisition of a new 35mm projection system aimed at the addition of a film series for UPAC in 2008-09.
Also in summer 2008 UPAC’s façade/portico/stagehouse roof replacement was accomplished along with some emergency masonry repair/restoration and other assorted projects. These were funded by a NYS Environmental Protection Fund Grant with support from Senators Saland, Larkin and Bonacic as well as Assemblymen Kirwan and Cahill; NYS Legislature Member Item funding from Senator John Bonacic; as well as the Dyson Foundation. In summer 2011 a new “Green Room” was created with funding from NYS through Rural Ulster. Next is an intense drive to fund and complete a daunting punch list of projects for UPAC: further masonry repair/restoration, emergency exit upgrades, renovation of the Encore Room and courtyard, more auditorium wheelchair seating, renovation/expansion of the balcony-level restrooms, construction of a new lobby concourse annex to accommodate major expansion/accessibility upgrade of the orchestra level restrooms, and HVAC upgrades.
What really stands out among our major grantors are names that consistently reappear across capital and program lines such as the Dyson Foundation, Congressman Hinchey, NYS Senator Saland and Assemblyman Thomas Kirwan. They are donors and advocates whose continued versatile support acknowledges that the art that lives on inside these historic buildings is as essential as the bricks and mortar on the outside. They are joined by a distinguished group of other private and public sector donors led by the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, the Jeanette Schlobach Charitable Trust, Millbrook Tribute Garden, the James J. McCann Charitable Trust, the Louis Greenspan Charitable Trust, the City of Poughkeepsie, the City of Kingston, Dutchess County, the NYS Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, whose giving also has known no boundaries.
Click here for more information about The Esplanade Walk of Fame.
If you want to learn more about past capital campaigns click here.
For more information call AnnMarie Faust, managing Director of Administration, Development & Finance 845.473.5288 ext. 103 or send an send an email.
© 2013 Bardavon/UPAC
Last modified: 2011-11-22 15:20:01