Emphasizing the important role the arts play in the community and education, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians and the Rolling Hills Casino Foundation pledged $100,000 this week to the Rodgers Theater reconstruction project. The grant, payable over three years in $35,000 installments, will help pay for the transformation of the Corning landmark into a performing arts center.
“Many of our tribal members grew up in Corning, and Rodgers Theater has a special place in our heart. As a movie theater, it provided the community countless hours of entertainment before it closed in 2006. As a performing arts center, it will be even more valuable, providing a stage for community and professional performances,” said Andrew Freeman, Tribal Chairman.
Rodgers Theater opened its doors in 1935, and was gifted to the City of Corning by the Rodgers family in 1991. It continued to operate as a movie theater until 2006 when it was closed due to deficiencies in the facility.
“The theater restoration is truly a partnership between the community and the city, with volunteer labor and donated supplies helping to keep the costs down. This makes us feel especially good about our grant, as we know every dollar will be well spent. We commend the Friends of the Theater for their vision in the theater as a multi-use facility, and for their successes so far in raising funds and support,” said Natasha Magana of the Tribal Council.
Once opened, Rodgers Theater will provide a venue for organizations and schools to host performances and events of interest to the community, similar to the Missoula Children’s Theater presentations sponsored by the Tehama County Arts Council.
“Exposure to the arts is vital to a well-rounded education; and we believe the opportunity to participate and observe dramatic performances and concerts will have a long-lasting benefit for our youth as well as adults,” said Latisha Miller, Vice Chairperson of the Tribal Council.
Freeman predicts the renovation of Rodgers Theater will have a positive economic as well as cultural impact on Corning. “The addition of a vibrant performance arts venue will help make Corning a more desirable place to live and visit. What’s more, the performances will draw people to downtown Corning where they can shop or dine after a show. Our contribution to the renovation is an investment in our community,” said Freeman.
Renovations include a roof replacement, reconstructed restrooms, installation of heating and air conditioning units, rehabilitation of the theater’s floor, expansion of the stage area, stage lighting, sound system, and reconstructed lobby area.
The City of Corning hopes to reopen the theater later this year.