Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Will The Senator become a church?

Liz Farmer of the Daily Record writes on their blog about the danger that The Senator will become a church as a result of the upcoming auction.

My response (posted on Liz Farmer's blog, but it looks like the comment hasn't been approved yet, and I don't want to lose what I wrote):

I live near The Senator, and I can't imagine that the nearby restaurants "might be secretly excited to get the post-worship crowd" as anything other than a consolation prize for losing the afternoon and evening business they would lose if The Senator ceases to be a theatre. Greg's Bagels is about the only local business that might actually benefit from The Senator becoming a church.

The bigger issue, as far as I'm concerned, however, is that it would be absolutely tragic to lose such a beautiful and unique historic theatre, the last of its kind in Baltimore. The Senator needs to remain a multi-purpose entertainment venue. Ideally, the building should be owned by a non-profit that has as its mission the preservation and restoration of the historic building. The non-profit can operate it as a theatre or lease it to a for-profit theatre operator. Methods of operation can be debated, but what should be obvious to everyone by now is that the building should be owned by a non-profit, as is the model for many successful historic theatres all over the country.

It's a shame that the city government's maneuvering to control the outcome has backfired to such an extent that now The Senator's future is up for auction to the highest bidder and we've gotten completely off the track of converting it into a non-profit, which was initially the goal and should have remained the goal all along.

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