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In 1926 theatre owners Leo F. Keiler and Rodney C. Davis commissioned architect W. Earl Gore of Louisville to design a new film and vaudeville theatre at 512 Broadway, Paducah, Kentucky. The Columbia Theatre would open its doors on April 18, 1927, with the Clara Bow and Antonio Moreno romantic comedy It.

The Columbia would continue to show films and present a mix of live performances until a renovation took place in the 1950s. This would have a major impact on the appearance of the theatre. Changes in technology were bringing the need for modernization to theatres across America in the 50s. While many theatres were being stripped of ornamentation and classical elements, the Columbia’s renovation went against the prevailing currents of the time. Its design was heavily influenced by what was to become known as the Skouras Style.

The next major renovation to the Columbia would take place in 1976 as many theatres responded to the economic pressures facing cinemas at the time to add additional screens. The Columbia’s balcony was divided from the main audience chamber to provide a separate standalone theatre. However, this attempt to return financial viability to the theatre was short lived. Like hundreds of other theatres around the country at the time, the Columbia went dark in 1987.

“Nationally, the industry generated $135.2 billion of economic activity$61.1 billion by the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations in addition to $74.1 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This economic activity supports 4.13 million full-time jobs and generates $86.68 billion in resident household income. Our industry also generates $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year—a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations. Despite the economic headwinds that our country faced in 2010, the results are impressive.”

                                – Americans for the Arts, National Arts & Economic Prosperity Study IV*

ColumbiART – An Art Installation Inside the Columbia @ Columbia Theatre
Sep 15 @ 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Former resident/artist of Paducah’s Lower Town Arts District and current resident of Augusta, MO, Teri Moore works as a full-time visual artist. A unique and first of its kind installation will take place in the historic Columbia Theatre and you are invited to witness it!!!!

One day ONLY, we invite anyone to reserve a slot to take a walk through the 1927 art palace, viewing the artwork, but also taking in the beauty of this historic structure. There will also be activities on Broadway, including food/drink and live music so make plans to come before your scheduled slot and feel free to stick around after. All proceeds will benefit the Columbia Theatre Restoration Project.

Words from the artist: “In Augusta, I have a studio for the first time in years. Because of the large flexible space, I am able to work again on the subtly social political sculptural groupings I enjoyed creating while living in Paducah. I make these groupings based on happenings that affect me both regionally and worldwide. While the make no overarching ‘in your face’ comment, they do hint to the concept that inspires them. the two I have completed at this time speak to the following:

Group 1: Broken Things describe my only semi-successful attempt at putting them back together . . . once broken, I can never put it back the way it originally was, so it necessarily becomes a new thing of its own, inspired by its beginning.

Group 2: Variations on White speak to the very real issue of people being thought of and treated differently based on skin color. This concept breaks my heart as I realize the difference between things (us) are often such small ‘variations’ yet inspire such violence and resolve of individual perspectives as correct and superior.”

Teri is working on three more groupings of similar size and scope. Teri says, “They need to be seen; to be experienced.” She put the word out on social media to Paducah and St. Louis friends hoping to find a venue that would complement the work not only for exhibition to the community that accepts them, but also so she could install them all in one space in order to have professional photographs taken for further advancement of the exhibition. Teri loves rough, unfinished spaces to exhibit her work as her aesthetic matches these spaces best, she thought of the Columbia Theatre.


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Save The Columbia Theatre

The Columbia Theatre Restoration Project exists under Paducah Art House Alliance (PAHA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The purpose of the dedicated group of volunteers is to save the Columbia Theatre.

© 2017 The Columbia Theatre