GALLIPOLIS — Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre put a new sign above its marquee Monday to tie it closer with its old opera house heritage
The Columbus Sign Company installed the marquee in 2006, said the performing arts centre’s Executive Director Lora Snow. Marquees were originally not used for opera houses but for modern theaters.
“Since the front is no longer 1895, we felt the marquee was justified,” said Snow. “This (new) sign is just going to be taking us back. We don’t have the original facade, but we can recreate a little of that feeling with this sign in identifying it as the Ariel Opera House, as it was once known.”
Gallia County projects received roughly $1.35 million funding after the state passed its capital budget bill. Both state Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, and state Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Sabina, supported the passage of the legislation in an effort to promote grown and economic stimulus to key southeast Ohio projects focused in community development.
The theater received around $200,000 of that.
“We were working on the facade of the building and cleaning it up,” said Snow. “There were old wires hanging out and gaps in the brick. There were things that just needed to be fixed and protected. We decided while (workers) were up there, why not have the sign? This will never be a masonic building again. This building was purchased and given to us by Mrs. Ann Carson Dater as a permanent home for The Ohio Valley Symphony.”
Snow said the building was not originally constructed to be a masonic lodge either and ongoing projects continue to reclaim the Ariel’s performing arts history.
“The original Ariel Opera House was established in 1895,” said Snow. “This facade (front of the theater) was put on when they made renovations in 1930. They changed the whole look of the building. Anyone driving downtown would not think this was a building from the 1890s.”
Snow said the next few projects coming to the Ariel would be to get some audio visual equipment along with screens and some carpeting up along staircases to help with some of the acoustics of the building.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.