Grand Vision is excited to announce the launch of a new restoration campaign for the Warner Grand Theatre - called "Love the Lobby." Love the Lobby will restore the original painted art deco designs on the main lobby ceiling.

Support LOVE THE LOBBY by adopting a Seat in the Theatre
or by calling Liz Johnson at Grand Vision (310) 833-4813. 

At the Gathering for the Grand Gala on March 24, 2018, Grand Vision Foundation received a surprise $50,000 match donation from Councilman Joe Buscaino to start the campaign! Since then, up to the COVID shutdowns, we've put the project in motion - revealing small areas of the original design work, and planning for major restorations.

The Warner Grand Theatre is has been called “An art deco masterpiece.” Its main auditorium and mezzanine lobby have survived, almost untouched, as stunning examples of early 20th Century movie palace design. Yet, the main lobby has not fared as well. 

At an unknown time, perhaps as a result of paint deterioration or changing styles of decor, the main lobby’s original painted ceiling and wall decorations were unfortunately painted over in off-white.

         Warner Grand Theatre Main Lobby today
         Main Lobby on Opening Day, January 20, 1931 

Recently, Grand Vision Foundation engaged a professional paint restoration company, LeGrande Studios, to investigate the ceiling and carefully reveal sections, allowing us to check the condition and seek bids for a complete restoration.

Here are some photos of what he found:

          First revealed ceiling detail

A larger portion of this ceiling detail

Another ceiling design discovered. See on the right, the artist has provided
a sample of how the colors probably originally looked. 

The total cost of painting restoration is estimated to be $250,000. If we decide to improve other aspects of the lobby, (such as the lighting) costs will be higher. Grand Vision is looking forward to working with the community to make this project come to life. Please stay tuned - we will have more information soon on how to support the Love the Lobby Campaign.

Together, we can restore the Warner Grand Theatre’s main lobby, so that our visitors experience the theater's magic and feels the excitement from the minute they walk in the front doors.

Thank you to Councilman Buscaino for kickstarting this important project and recognizing the historic and present-day value of the Warner Grand Theatre! 

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.
 OTHER PROJECTS 2011-2018 
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. During that time period, we also presented the Theatre with a new main curtain and a new lighting console. 
In 2016, we purchased a high resolution digital video projector for use in the theater. Also during this time we repaired the exterior tile on the storefront facades that are part of the theater. We also make ongoing paint repairs in areas that suffer leaks and damage. 

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.