Fans of the historic Byrd Theatre rejoice! The Reinhart family recently provided a $500,000 gift to the Byrd Theatre Foundation, the largest gift in the Foundation's history. For those of us who consider this cinema jewel to be one of the most beautiful places in Richmond, this is wonderful news.
According to a press release: "The gift will be used to reduce the mortgage on the Theatre; to establish an opportunity fund to develop more mission-based programming; and to expand access, audience and capacity in human resources over time – all part of Phase Two initiatives underway. Phase Two will capitalize on the Byrd as an experience, an historic and cultural resource, and as a museum of cinema, based on its unique collection of historic film equipment, projectors and the Wurlitzer organ. To launch the effort, The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation has awarded the Byrd a $250,000 Challenge grant."
The Foundation will host a formal dedication of the Reinhart Auditorium at the Byrd Theatre, on Thursday, May 9, according to the release. The dedication is part of a year-long celebration of the Byrd’s 90th anniversary.
“The entire community will benefit from this extraordinary investment in Richmond’s beloved and historic movie palace," said Ted Haynes, President of the Board of Directors in the release. "The Reinhart family was inspired by the progress on preservation and programs, and by the vision and strategic plan for the Byrd to become a major film literacy center.”
Here's more from the release:
The Byrd Theatre Foundation is also expanding partnerships with universities, film networks and other community business partners to develop additional educational and enriching film series. A total of $2.5 million is estimated for Phase Two enhancements. Phase One raised $1.5 million for a new roof, major systems upgrades, new center seats and other improvements.
The mission of the organization is to expand the big screen experience, celebrate the art of cinema and preserve Virginia’s grand motion picture palace, with a vision to elevate the Byrd’s landmark position among American theaters as a center for film that continues to provide the broadest possible public access to exceptional cinematic experiences.