Paramount Theatre receives its largest-ever grant, $2.5 million, to launch Act 2 campaign.
JANUARY 25, 2018
Aurora’s Paramount Theatre announced it has been awarded its largest grant ever – a $2.5 million donation from the Dunham Fund.
The Dunham Fund’s lead grant toward the $4.5 million goal of the Act 2 Capital Campaign will support three major areas of expansion and improvement:
1. SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS
Creation of the new Paramount School of Performing Arts in downtown Aurora in the new John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, currently under construction at the intersection of Galena Boulevard and Stolp Avenue, directly adjacent to the Paramount. Slated to open in January 2019, the Paramount School of Performing Arts will encourage and train young actors, dancers and musicians for a culture-filled life, nurture the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs and add to the excitement, cultural and economic activity in Aurora’s downtown business district.
2. REPLACEMENT OF PARAMOUNT SEATS
The replacement of every Paramount Theatre seat through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant. All 1,888 original seats have served more than eight million visitors since the Paramount Theatre opened in 1931. Already through this important campaign, Paramount patrons have donated funds for the replacement of more than 400 seats. Installation of the seats will begin this summer, and audiences can look forward to all new, larger and more comfortable seats thanks to the Dunham Fund’s matching grant.
3. COPLEY THEATRE MODERNIZATION
Modernization of the Paramount’s 173-seat sister stage, the Copley Theatre, located in North Island Center directly across the street from the Paramount. Act 2 Capital Campaign funds will support much-needed upgrades and improvements in the Copley, built in 1981, including replacement of carpeting and seats, updating technical equipment, expanded restrooms, new heating and air conditioning systems and remodeled backstage and dressing areas. These improvements will boost cultural and economic activity even further in downtown Aurora, making the space suitable for smaller shows, as well as a debut venue for a new works program at the Paramount.
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The Dunham Fund presents a check to Act 2 Chairman Thomas J. Weisner for $2.5 million toward Paramount’s capital campaign – the largest grant ever in the theater’s history.