CORNING, NY (WETM) — After nearly a year of ownership, hundreds of man-hours and tens of thousands of dollars invested in renovations, a Corning organization isn’t giving up on its mission to restore a local landmark and… bring more art to the community.
The Corning Public Theater, now housed in the historic Masonic Temple, has stood empty for decades and fallen into disrepair. Last summer, a rainstorm in early August left the theater seats and stage flooded with water.
Wendy Griffin, president of the Corning Public Theatre, said the organization saved the building from the chopping block, but the initial roof repair was just a “band-aid”. Since last summer, the theater has invested about $20,000 in a temporary roof repair and volunteers have put in more than 440 man-hours to clean up the building, Griffin said.
“Now it’s time to go,” Griffin said. “Now it’s time to replace that roof and make sure that this building will survive.”
Griffin made it clear that the Public Theater is passionate about saving the building and creating a performing arts center in downtown Corning, in a county with no similar location.
“If you want to go see a band that’s from outside of Corning, you have to go to Geneva…to Ithaca, you have to travel outside of Corning to do that,” Griffin said. “We want to bring these people here to perform, so they eat at our restaurants, stay at our hotels.”
Ultimately, says Griffin, theater is for community artists.
“We saw an opportunity and we took it,” Griffin explained. “And it’s been a huge learning curve. There are a lot of things that we thought were easy that aren’t. But we’re hopeful and moving forward to get it done and to involve the community so that it’s a place for the community.
The Corning Public Theater is launching a “Raise the Roof” fundraising campaign on July 11 to help raise $250,000 for the renovations, with a matching grant of $15,000. The Theater will also host another seating campaign.
Corning Public Theater