Lyric Storefront Reconstruction

$30,321 of $28,000 goal

Raised by 136 people in 24 months

Lyric Storefront Reconstruction will restore the facade of the 104-year-old Lyric Theater in Virginia, Minnesota, to make it handicap accessible and fire code compliant. This step is the third major and most visible restoration to the building since 2000.  #GoBeyondGiving and donate today!

The first project replaced the roof and stabilized the masonry after the Lyric Center for the Arts purchased the building in 1998. In 2006 the Lyric added accessible restrooms and a small gallery space. Storefront reconstruction is the key to future restoration of the remaining space including the lobby and small performance space, the upstairs ballroom and lounge, and the the actual theater: until the building meets ADA and fire code requirements, no further renovation can proceed.

The Lyric is home to Small Parts Players Children's Theatre Company, the IRRRP community theatre company, The First Stage Gallery and classroom space.   When complete, it will also welcome other area performing organizations, performers and touring groups.

The Lyric building is part of the Virginia Commercial Historic District, the 6-block segment of Chestnut Street added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Virginia is the heart of Minnesota's Iron Range.


Who owns the Lyric building?

The Laurentian Arts and Culture Alliance, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, acquired the building in 1998 to rescue it from demolition. The LACA owns and operates the facility and generates all of the arts programming currently offered in, and in conjunction with, this building.

Is the Lyric Theater building part of a larger preservation effort?

Yes, in 1997, the Virginia Commercial Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This district encompasses five blocks on Chestnut Street and includes the Lyric Theater building which anchors the west edge of the district. The city of Virginia’s commercial district was completely destroyed by fire in 1893 and again in 1900. The buildings in the Historic District were reconstructed of brick, stone, and concrete to ensure that another fire would not destroy them. Today, the City of Virginia and downtown businesses are in the planning stages of a downtown revitalization effort.

What else is in the Lyric Theater building?

The building was designed for mixed use and included retail space at the street level front, office rentals and a gathering space on the second floor and the two-story theater in the back. The 580-seat theater sold out on opening night in 1911. It was located between major theater circuits in Winnipeg and Milwaukee, and there were high hopes that it would be a financial success. The building was also home to an electrical goods store in the retail space, the YMCA, an insurance agency and a photography studio in the office space, and the Christian Science Hall located in the upper floor gathering space.

In the 1930's, the theater was converted to a movie house, Paramount Studios added the Lyric to its circuit and changed the name to the State Theater.
Over the years the commercial spaces housed a jewelry store, an ice cream parlor, radio station and the VFW. The theater stopped showing movies in 1956. It was occasionally used for community events for a few years, but lay dormant until the 1980’s when the seats were removed and it was used for storage.  This photo was taken in 1977.
Why does the Lyric need to reconstruct the storefront?

Over the years each new tenant, particularly the retail tenants, altered the building’s appearance to meet their needs, “modernizing” to stay competitive. When the theater was converted for “talking pictures,” the architects changed its look to Art Deco. And when the theater portion was no longer used, its grand entrance and lobby were converted to retail space, doorways were removed and the historic wood bulwark and window sashes were replace with modern brick and aluminum. So the building has lost many characteristics of its historic facade, but retained its lack of handicap accessibility and its fire code deficiencies, like most 100 year old buildings. That’s what the storefront reconstruction will accomplish: ADA and Fire Code compliance. Without this, no further restoration can proceed.


What will this $28,000 do?


The $28,000 being raised here is leveraging funding from six other sources: the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, the Virginia Community Foundation, Community Development Block Grant funds, energy retrofit funding from the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, funds from the Virginia Economic Development Authority, and culture and tourism funding from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. As of November 2016, $175,000 has been secured from these six sources.  

Your matching support is crucial.  This step is essential before any other building renovation can commence. The project will restore the north facade on Chestnut Street, retrofitting it with the seven doors required to make the building ADA and Fire Code compliant and reconstructing the historic storefront of this jewel on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

What are the next steps?

There has been lots of planning and engineering work put into the Lyric renovation since 1998. Once the seven doorways are back in place, LACA will move forward with work on the ground floor, renovating the lobby and creating a 100 seat performance venue which will be home to Small Parts Players Children’s Theatre Company and also provide performance space for recitals, plays and spoken word. The First Stage Gallery will move into the lobby area. This will allow expansion of the organization's programs and grow audience.

The following step will include installation of an elevator and grand stair case (removed during the retail years) to access the upper floor ballroom and lounge. These modifications will provide much-needed space for receptions, conferences and meetings.
The final step will fully renovate the historic theater and install a replicated marquee.  This will bring the Historic Lyric building full circle and provide a full-service venue for visual and performing arts on the Iron Range.
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It was wonderful to see our new prismatic transom glass panels put in place today!

We're a few months behind schedule, but things are happening quickly now.

Just a few weeks and about $5, 200 left to complete this exciting project!

Many thanks to those who have donated to our fund. Please share with others so we can cap off this fundraiser.
Our prism glass transom was installed!
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Only $6,466 left to reach our goal!!

The opportunity to for the matching donation is over, so who's going to be the donor who carries to the end of this campaign??
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Only 5 days left for the matching donation!!!!

There's still $5,830 dollars left of the gift to match with donations like yours. Please share our GoFundMe site with your friends and family and let them know what you think is special about the Lyric Center for the Arts.

All donations of any size are welcome!

Thanks!
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We still have $6,255 left in a match that runs for the next two weeks! We don't want to miss out, so we're asking you to share this opportunity with your friends and family today.
Please and THANK YOU!
Help us get here to there!
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Mary Mcreynolds-Pellinen
15 months ago

I guess I should have included my phone number to make that easier! 218-780-3690

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$30,321 of $28,000 goal

Raised by 136 people in 24 months
Created October 23, 2016
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$4,000
Anonymous
9 months ago (Offline Donation)
C
$40
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Wayne and Ardy Nurmi Willberg
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$500
Jerry and Wanda Christofferson
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Elizabeth Hayes
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Gary Pernu
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$127
Anonymous
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$250
Marlise Riffel
10 months ago

Let's hustle to the finish line!!!!!

LB
$200
Louise Bonach
10 months ago (Offline Donation)
Mary Mcreynolds-Pellinen
15 months ago

I guess I should have included my phone number to make that easier! 218-780-3690

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