THOMAS – Recently Historic Theater Consultant Michael Hurwitz came from Columbus Ohio to visit Cottrill’s Opera House and share his years of experience in restoring old theaters.
Thanks to a mini grant from the WV Humanities Council, a donation of two nights at the Cooper House and loaned use of the Extension Office’s projector, Alpine Heritage Preservation was able to host Mr. Hurwitz for two days in Thomas.
After meeting and touring the area with board members to get acquainted with the history and current condition of Thomas and the opera house, Hurwitz provided interested community members with a presentation outlining examples of best practices and success stories of how others have restored and breathed new life into their old theaters. The presentation was followed by an in depth round table discussion regarding next steps for Cottrill’s Opera House, which Hurwitz will expand upon in a detailed site-specific report expected in September.
The day was very informative and brought great hope to those dedicated to the project. Hurwitz was very impressed by the area and community and indicated that most of the key steps have been completed at the opera house. He said “If this restoration process were a marathon, you’re at mile 20. The last six miles are the toughest, but you’re very close to the finish line!”
Aside from many practical pointers on how to raise money and get the restoration work done, Hurwitz articulated the value that a multi-use arts center would have for the community and surrounding region. In his presentation he quoted Paul G. Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft: “In my own philanthropy and business endeavors, I have seen the critical role that the arts play in stimulating creativity and developing vital communities… The arts have a crucial impact on our economy and are an important catalyst for learning, discovery, and achievements in our country.”
AHP was thrilled to be able to host Michael Hurwitz and looks forward to their continued work with him. Please contact email@example.com if you would like more information on the progress at Cottrill’s Opera House, to sign up for the upcoming newsletter, or to see Hurwitz’s report.