restoration

RESTORATION

Since we saved the Warner Grand from demolition or drastic alteration, Grand Vision has been making regular improvements to the Theatre, sometimes small and sometimes major.

The goal has always been to transform the Theatre into a first class community performing arts center.

Grand Vision's original members recall that in the mid 1990s, "There wasn't an operating light fixture in the building." Grand Vision's first big project was to restore the historic marquee and neon blade sign. To unveil the restored, re-lit sign, which has now been a beacon in downtown San Pedro for over a decade, Grand Vision produced a street festival called "Light Up the Night."

Our efforts to then present live concerts, youth musicals and films were challenged by the Theatre's dilapidated condition. We decided to tackle the issue by launching the Save Your Seat Campaign in 2004.

The three-year Campaign, raised over $1 million through the "adoption" of almost 1,000 seats to complete improvements most frequently asked for by the community.  These were the restoration of 1,500 seats, and the upgrade of stage rigging, and sound system. The project ultimately included a new projection screen, state of the art LED aisle lighting, carpeting, painting and more. Restoration efforts following the Campaign included a stage extension, restoration of one auditorium chandelier, restroom improvements and polishing of the marble ticket booth and terrazzo entryway.  We also provide a digital video projector. Last summer we also presented the Theatre with a new main curtain and a new lighting console.

Since the improvements took place, the Warner Grand has become more popular than ever. The number of events held annually jumped from 80 in 2005 to over 150 in 2009. And, the events -- when taken as a whole -- have become more sophisticated and engaging.

We have just finished repairing the damaged mezzanine lobby ceiling, and we also recently received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to analyze the causes of the peeling paint in the Theatres main auditorium.  

GVF's goal is for the WGT to achieve the comfort and technical sophistication of a contemporary performing arts venue while maintaining its historic integrity. While great strides have been made in restoring both the theater, on-going improvements are essential in order to make the theater an even more functional and desirable venue for high-caliber performers who enhance the cultural atmosphere of San Pedro with their presence.