August 2020: Newsletter #4
Digging up Memories
Passing the Torch Back
If you were to conduct a survey asking Kerrvilians what the front of the Arcadia Theatre used to look like, the vast majority of them would likely describe some combination of tall, red fins, burgundy tile-work, purple butterfly doors, and a green, neon sign. While this nostalgic façade will always hold a place in our hearts (and in our venue as well since the Iconic Blade and red fins have been moved to the side of the building!), it was time to pass the torch back to the Arcadia Theatre’s first façade.
As you may have known, Arcadia’s story is one of several very different looks as the theatre has undergone more than one substantial construction project over its near century of existence. The Arcadia opened its doors in 1926 as a vaudeville theatre and within 3 years, the roof was raised to accommodate talkie movies. In 1948, the theatre closed down for 6 months for renovations. To our best knowledge, this is when the Iconic Blade, Fins, and interior art deco elements were added. The theatre kept this retro façade through its closing in 1989 and into 2019 when Arcadia Live’s construction project began.
Our mission is to preserve and promote the legacy of the Historic Downtown Business District while bringing diverse and vibrant live entertainment to Kerrville. Our non-profit decided the best way to pay homage to everything the Arcadia has been while preparing the venue to be competitive in a modern landscape was to incorporate what historic elements were left behind, rebuild what we could, and add in the latest and greatest that we all expect out of a live entertainment venue. As such, we have created a walk through history at Arcadia Live.
You stroll up to our beautiful, Spanish mission façade. Ignoring the cars, trees, and paved roads surrounding it, the street view of the Arcadia looks almost as it did in 1926. Although most of this was reconstructed this year, make sure to take note of the only original design details from the 20’s that were left in our care: the decorative relief and corbels, (which were uncovered during our construction project) supporting it and framing the main entrance of the venue. You pass through the front doors and enter our unique Art Deco Corridor, which has been in place since 1948. The funky, organically shaped walls and ceiling are accentuated by a fresh coat of paint, cinema reel chandeliers (Continue reading for more on these!), and an equally fantastic, new carpet. You pass our bar and then enter the belly of the beast- our 21st century, industrial theatre space! Our modern space features high, exposed ceilings, great new equipment and overlooks the Guadalupe River.
In summary, we are proud to have incorporated a buried portion of the Arcadia’s history as a major design element of our venue.
Putting the FUN in Fundraising
Tivy High School Naming Opportunity
Arcadia Live has several Naming Opportunities. These are areas in the theatre that, with a substantial contribution, can be named by an individual or group. In short, Naming Opportunities are a great way to both support our non-profit’s mission as well as make a name for yourself in the theatre!
In February of 2019, our team began communicating with Brenda Williams and Julie Mosty Leonard to create a fundraising project for Tivy’s Class of 1960 to name the Arcadia boardwalk alley. After meeting with Chris Pieper (Class of 1977) in June, we started working with a small and passionate group of Tivy Alumni, to transform the original fundraising idea into what it is today: A challenge for ALL alumni of Tivy High School to contribute to the fund and compete to bring glory to their graduating class!
How Does it Work and What Do We Win?
I’d like to start by describing how cool the space in question is and where winning classes will be recognized. If you’re standing on the sidewalk facing Arcadia Live, to the left of our block of buildings you’ll see an impressive iron gate. Once the Tivy alumni classes reach our initial fundraising goal of $50,000, a plaque will be posted here. This plaque will be visible by passerby and announce that it is the entrance to Arcadia Live’s “Antler Alley.” If you pass through the gate and begin to walk down the alley, you will be greeted by the 7 red fins from the retro façade, lining the wall of the theatre on the right. These fins lead up to the Iconic Blade which is now posted on the corner of our building, overlooking our back deck, the Guadalupe River, and Louise Hays Park.
Annually, Arcadia Live will recognize the top fundraising classes on the theatre’s wall with the fins, with the highest ranking class being posted closest to the Iconic Blade. The form of recognition has not yet been finalized, but Arcadia Live is currently considering small plaques or painted spaces for our top classes. This class recognition will remain in place for one year, to be replaced by the next year’s top classes.To date, $8,525 has been raised by Tivy Alumni! Once our goal amount has been met and the naming rights of “Antler Alley” have been secured, we’ll plan a celebration and unveil the plaque!
The current leading classes are:
1) Class of 1958
2) Class of 1977
3) Class of 1960
4) Class of 2004
These rankings, along with photos of the leading classes, will be kept posted on our website. Learn more there or…
We hope this fundraising project encourages Antlers of all ages to connect with friends, both old and new. To our more established generations that had the opportunity to grow up in the Arcadia theatre, we hope the Antler Alley project gives you the chance to share your Arcadia stories with younger generations of Antlers.
Ironing out Unique, Historic Details
We realized pretty early on that we would need a talented professional’s help to recreate the metalwork featured in pictures of the 1920’s Arcadia façade. We also figured we could use custom metalwork throughout the venue as a way to tie our eclectic design elements (Reminder: we’ve got a 20’s mission façade, an Art Deco hall from 1948, and a 21st century industrial theatre) together. That’s where local craftsman, Duane Simpson (Center Point High School, Class of 1979) of LoneStar Ironworks, entered the picture.
Consulting old photos, Duane recreated the iron balcony, Arcadia lettering, and sconces that you will see gracing the front of our building. In addition to these pieces, Duane designed light fixtures that will hang above the private, upstairs bar as well our film reel chandeliers.
That’s right- FILM REEL chandeliers! These handcrafted pieces subtly pay homage to the Arcadia theatre’s history as a film-house and are now hanging in the Art Deco Corridor. The film reels were built to fit within the circular deco details molded into the ceiling in our entry hall. Our team is particularly excited about these works of art, as we think they’ll help make a great first impression on visitors. We hope that they’ll help our beloved Art Deco area hold onto its spotlight in our all-around, awesome venue.
So, when you visit the Arcadia, remember to take a moment to enjoy the details!
Once again, thank you to LoneStar Ironworks for lighting up our space with your beautiful fixtures. We’d venture to say that your works of iron will help make the Arcadia experience truly cinematic.
Rollin’ a Film Reel
Duane Simpson shaping the film reel edge of one of Arcadia Live’s chandeliers that will be displayed in the Art Deco Corridor.
This newsletter is brought to you by our Corporate Sponsors
Thank you to the following companies and individuals for supporting Arcadia Live’s mission.
Texas Hill Country Bank
John Fontenot, Consultant
Ken Stoepel Ford
Michael R. Borchers, DDS & Shari Addington, MD
Steamatic Restoration & Cleaning
Texas Multi-Chem, LTD
Please look forward to seeing more about these sponsors in upcoming newsletters, on our website, and in the theatre!
Join in on the Fun!
Becoming a corporate sponsor shows your commitment to the Kerrville community and will help us bring diverse, live entertainment to our iconic downtown venue.
Join the ranks of the wonderful corporations and individuals acknowledged above by becoming a Corporate Sponsor.