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Arts Council gets grants

Since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, many theaters have had to close because of safety restrictions – and the Historic Roxy Theatre in Russellville was not immune.

The Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council has abided by state safety restrictions by keeping the Historic Roxy closed and cancelling all scheduled events since March – from the annual Roxy McDowell concert to the monthly Rockin’ with the KGB shows.

The Roxy Theatre has been closed, but the council said that doesn’t mean things haven’t been going on behind the doors. The Arts Council has been busy submitting grants and overseeing maintenance work the past five months. As a result, two $10,000 grants were awarded, and multiple maintenance items have been completed.

The Northwest Resource and Development Council awarded $10,000, and the Franklin County Community Development Commission awarded $10,000, to the Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council.

These two grants have been used to replace one HVAC unit in the Historic Roxy Theatre.

According to the council, Rep. Jamie Kiel was instrumental in assisting with these grants.

“We are most appreciative to Kiel, along with Sen. Stutts and Rep. Robertson, for their endorsement,” said arts council’s Susie Malone. “These legislators were also supporters of the Franklin County Community Development Commission Grant.”

Other maintenance items that have been made at the Roxy are:

  • the roof has been repaired and gutters replaced
  • lights for the marquee have been replaced
  • repairs have been made to the canopy where leaks had caused damage
  • theatre seats have been repaired
  • three large show cases with Plexiglas have been replaced

Malone said a few more maintenance efforts need to be made as money become available.

As a non-profit organization, the arts council is dependent on ticket sales and donations; that being the case, the pandemic has affected not only the economy of Russellville but also the Roxy. Even though the Roxy was closed and lights were off, the monthly minimum utility bills still had to be paid – and without the benefit of income from ticket sales.

Malone said the Roxy needs and wants to open, albeit with safety restrictions in place. All that’s needed is a green light from state authorities.

The KGB is ready to resume monthly shows, and “The Roxy’s Christmas Spectacular” is tentatively planned for Dec. 2-6.