The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Interim Executive Director Joey Parnes) announced today that the Ford Foundation has generously awarded The Public Theater a $2 million grant to support The Public's GOING PUBLIC capital campaign. The largest campaign gift to date after the City's substantial commitment of $28 million, the Ford Foundation will be recognized for this significant grant with the renovated Public Theater lobby being renamed the "Ford Foundation Lobby." The $40 million renovation of The Public's long-time home on Lafayette Street is expected to be completed by summer 2012 with a grand reopening in fall 2012.
This announcement was made at a special event, A Celebration of The Public Theater, at the Ford Foundation last night that featured an advance screening of the film "Joe Papp in Five Acts" by Tracie Holder and Karen Thorsen and a panel discussion with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Suzan-Lori Parks and Oskar Eustis. Check out photos from the evnt below!
"The Ford Foundation's visionary leadership has understood the vital interaction between the arts and civic life for many years," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "We are deeply grateful to President Luis Ubiñas and the foundation for their vigorous support of the values we share. Our partnership with the Ford Foundation will help move the theater to where it belongs: the center of public discourse."
"The foundation has long supported the institutions and organizations that create New York City's rich and vibrant cultural landscape," said Luis Ubiñas, President of the Ford Foundation. "The Public Theater's commitment to new ideas, it's emphasis on openness and public access, and the strength of its artistic leadership have made it an enduring New York treasure. We are committed to doing everything we can to help the city's cultural organizations emerge from this economic crisis stronger than ever."
Designed by Ennead Architects LLP, this highly anticipated renovation will completely remodel the public spaces of The Public Theater and mark the first-ever Capital Campaign in the organization's 55-year history. The Capital Campaign, comprised of public and private funds, has already raised $37.9 million toward a $40 million renovation. The construction will revitalize the historic Astor Place building and strengthen the organization for years to come. The plans include an expanded and refurbished lobby (an additional 468 square feet); an exterior entrance staircase with two ADA-accessible ramps and a glass covered canopy; a complete restoration of the theater's historic brownstone façade; a complete upgrade of the theater's heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; an increase in restroom facilities by 350%; an expanded and centrally located box office; a new mezzanine level including a community room/lounge with a capacity for 150 people; improved and expanded concessions service; the incorporation of energy-efficient technology; and improved street visibility including six new poster boxes and exterior lighting.
THE FORD FOUNDATION is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote internationAl Cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Joey Parnes, Interim Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals and productions of classics at its downtown home and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public Theater's mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through extensive outreach programs. Each year, more than 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe's Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater's productions have won 42 Tony Awards, 158 Obies, 42 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. Fifty-four Public Theater Productions have moved to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; For Colored Girls...; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Passing Strange; the revival of HAIR; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Merchant of Venice. www.publictheater.org.
Photo credit: Simon Luethi.
Meryl Streep, Gail Merrifield Papp, Suzan-Lori Parks, Tracie Holder, Oskar Eustis, and Kevin Kline
Oskar Eustis, Luis UbiÃƒÂ±as, and a guest
Oskar Eustis Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline
Oskar Eustis and Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline and Michael Greif
Steven Cohen, Meryl Streep, Rosemarie Tichler, and Kevin Kline