WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Organizations Fundraise For Orpheum Theatre

Galesburg, IL – Galesburg's Orpheum Theatre is trying to raise money for sorely needed rennovations. After it failed to win money through the Save America's Treasures grant program several months ago, the theatre is still looking for ways to raise money.

Orpheum Theatre President and Managing Director Kate Francis says $300,000 has already been secured through donations from businesses and individuals.

"$300,000 in terms of a multi, multi million dollar historic building is not very much money in terms of a comprehensive renovation campaign," says Francis. "What we're dealing with right now is just heating and cooling."

Francis says the theatre recently applied for federal money from a different pool through U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). The money would come from the Department of Interior. If awarded, the federal government would match every dollar raised.

That might hit a snag, however, if discretionary spending is halted in the federal government's 2011 budget, a idea recently floated by President Obama.

In the mean time, the Orpheum is also turning to fundraising. Kate Francis says area theatre groups and businesses are donating what they can to help out.

She says Inkeepers Coffee in Galesburg will donate a portion of proceeds from sales of its "Inkeepers Blend" coffee sales throughout the month of April. Francis says the coffee shop held a contest of sorts to determine a winner for the fundraising proceeds, and the Orpheum won.

The theatre is also partnering with Monmouth College. The college's rendition of Sweeny Todd will be performed on April 9th, with all proceeds benefiting the theatre.

Finally, Choral Dynamics will donate a portion of proceeds from its show to the theatre. Francis says the group performs twice a year at the Orpheum, and local organizations compete for the proceeds. Francis says she decided to apply this year, and won.

Francis says she's extremely grateful for the community support the theatre has received. But for a complete renovation, she says the Orpheum still has a long way to go.