Photos: Suffolk Theater opens doors today for arts & biz event

09/20/2012 8:00 AM |
Downtown Riverhead, Suffolk Theater, East End Arts

BARBARELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Theater executive director Bob Spiotto inside the downtown Riverhead theater, near the main stage, last week.

For the first time since renovations began, members of the public will get a chance to see the inside of the Suffolk Theater today.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. officials of East End Arts and the still-in-progress performing arts theater will co-host a forum for local business owners, artists and government officials focused on how businesses can partner with artists.

But by Tuesday afternoon, the event was already sold out.

“You can’t argue with that,” said Bob Spiotto, executive director of the Suffolk Theater, when asked about the packed house for the first event.

The forum, entitled “Art Means Business,” was proposed by East End Arts executive director Pat Snyder.

“It’s about bringing the art and business communities together,” she said.

The event will include breakfast and lunch served by Blue Duck Bakery and Digger O’Dell’s, she said, and will feature Emily Peck of America for the Arts pARTnership Movement as the keynote speaker. The audience will be able to ask questions during the address, she added.

Ms. Snyder said projects like the Suffolk Theater can be the “cornerstone of revitalization,” and that Thursday morning’s event would also showcase the renovated theater’s “prime potential.”

As of Tuesday, workers were beginning to clear out construction materials from the main theater and planned to set up chairs and tables for vendors the next day.

Progress at the theater has been steady, Mr. Spiotto said. Since he took over at the beginning of the month both the men’s and women’s bathrooms are almost complete, with original etched glass windows reframed and new countertops installed.

“[They’ve] given so much attention to detail … really monitoring the integrity of the building,” Ms. Snyder said of Mr. Spiotto and theater owners Bob and Dianne Castaldi.

After the forum, those attending will be taken on tours of the theater, Ms. Snyder said.

Mr. Spiotto said he hopes to have the theater ready by late fall to host some “small pop-up events” and is aiming for a pair of grand opening events at the end of December.

“Like anything else, it takes time,” he said.

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