The Sherbino Theater in Ridgway has gone through a number of iterations over the last 100 years: a drug store, a post office, a roller rink, a grocery store, a saloon, even a teepee manufacturing business. After it closed briefly in 2011, community members stepped in to not only revive it, but restore it to what mining promoter Louis Sherbino originally intended it to be -- a venue for the arts.
Sherbino staff and the Ridgway Chautauqua Society, a citizens group that now manages the theater, are throwing a birthday party Friday night -- complete with birthday cake -- to commemorate the 100th anniversary. Additional celebrations last all weekend long.
"[Sherbino] was enamored of the new industry that was coming alive in America for film," Ridgway Chautauqua Society president Patrick O'Leary says. "So his desire was to have a great movie house and also to create a stage where his son and daughter-in-law, who were musicians, could play."
O'Leary says the Sherbino eventually became the "social hub of Ridgway."
"It's the emotional connections that exist for people in this particular place that are important," O'Leary says. "It has less to do with the physical elements than it has to do with the metaphysics of family life within a small town."
And that's why the Ridgway Chautauqua Society has opted to revitalize the theater rather than building new on an empty lot. O'Leary says he and his colleagues are in the midst of finalizing an approximately $2.25 million renovation plan that would double the size of the theater and add a second level. He hopes to bring back live theater, which has been absent from the Sherbino for decades. O'Leary also wants to attract some larger national and provide more resources for Colorado artists.
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