The Rapidian

Revolutionizing historic preservation

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Community Media Center (CMC) proudly debuts a new video celebrating the Wealthy Theatre Centennial Anniversary, and explaining funding and sustainability initiatives underway now: "Revolutionizing Historic Preservation"
Underwriting support from:

The Videos

"Revolutionizing Historic Preservation," our current video debut, features Wealthy Theatre Director Erin Wilson explaining what led Community Media Center to imagine the Sustainability Campaign, why it's important and how you can help.

"WT Before & After," released a year ago, has received nearly 3,000 views on our Vimeo channel - this video features a series of breathtaking transitions from the old to the new.

If you know a business or foundation leader who might be able to help us reach our goal, please share these videos far and wide! 

We can be contacted at [email protected] or by calling (616) 459-4788 x130. Office hours are weekdays 2-7 p.m. at 1130 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.

/Jon Clay

/Terry Johnston

/City Archive

Community Media Center (CMC) proudly debuts a new video about Wealthy Theatre's pioneering Centennial Sustainability Campaign, which has a fundraising goal of $500,000. We're halfway there and we need your help. Please share this article, and visit the WT Centennial website to learn how you can help. 

As you may know, the Wealthy Theatre Centennial Sustainability Campaign addresses emerging threats to the sustainability of this beloved Grand Rapids landmark. Wealthy Theatre is confronted with the same threats as almost every historic venue in North America: rising energy costs, cultural irrelevancy and outdated technologies. Community Media Center (CMC) has designed a groundbreaking 30-point plan to address and overcome these threats. 

We chose to celebrate our 100-year anniversary by looking forward, to preserve the past by embracing the future. The Sustainability Plan is our blueprint for survival, but not just for Wealthy Theatre. The Sustainability Plan is a revolutionary approach to historic preservation, which leverages greening technologies while meticulously honoring historic traditions.

The individual pieces of the Sustainability Plan work in concert with one another: containment measures to reduce wasted energy, renewable energy to replace fossil-fuel energies and multimedia updates to maintain a high volume of usage by the community. 

One highlight is the plan to replace all lights in Wealthy Theatre with LED technology, including the stage lights in Peter Wege Auditorium, which would reduce energy draw for lighting by nearly 80 percent. Nothing like this ever has been done before, or even attempted. In addition we'd place solar panels on the roof, install secondary doors in the main lobby, create a loading dock enclosure, add efficiency hardware to our furnace, upgrade our projector and video cameras and beautify the parking lot and walkway.

Historic venues are essentially cavernous structures that take a ton of energy to operate. Wealthy Theatre's Sustainability Campaign would position this city landmark as a national model for innovative approaches to unavoidable problems - a teaching hospital, if you will, for other historic venues.

We're only halfway to our modest goal of $500,000 and we need your help. Please share this article in any way you can - by private email and on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact email: [email protected]
The "Before & After" video
We hope you enjoyed - and would consider sharing - the "Revolutionizing Historic Preservation" video at the top of this article. We also invite you to view and share our much talked about "Before & After" video, which took nearly two years to complete. This video is a thank-you to the community volunteers who brought about the renovation of Wealthy Theatre in the 1990s. It's a reminder of where this place has been, how far it has come, and the role the community played in turning things around on Wealthy Street a decade ago. From the longtime investment in this neighborhood by Mr. Peter Wege to the fundraising by now-mayor George K. Heartwell to the unstoppable Ms. Carol Moore... this place always has been, and always will be the community's theatre.
Community Media Center, as its steward, continues this amazing tradition. With your help, we can ensure it's accessible, sustainable and open for business for years to come.

Please watch and share this brilliant video:
CMC and GRTV staff produced the Before & After video patiently and lovingly, using video switching to overlay old and new images and match perspectives and vantage points exactly.

Wealthy Theatre is a proud service of Community Media Center (CMC).

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