The Smithtown Performing Arts Center is in need of being saved.
Local elected officials and community leaders gathered at the theater Sept. 8 asking for local residents to help pitch in money to save the building. The owner of the building, Ken Washington, put it up for sale last month.
Not only is the SPAC a place for entertainment, as well as education, but it also serves as a sentimental piece of history to the community. The theater itself was built in 1933 and aged well into its years making it 90 years old. It has become a well-known staple and has brought in families from all over the Island.
“This is like the hub of our downtown revitalization,” said state Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James). “This is history. This is history we need to make sure is secured and that will still be here for our families — our young, our middle-aged and our seniors.”
Mattera also pointed out that the educational acting programs for 17 and 18 year olds are extremely vital in this day and age. He said coming to the Smithtown Performing Arts Center is one of the few ways to get young people off their phones and learn about art and history.
“The only way the surrounding businesses will survive is if this theater remains a hub,” said Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R). “If it does not, and it’s sold for other purposes, you will see millions of dollars in expendable income leave Smithtown and go to other places such as Patchogue, Babylon or Northport.”
Currently, a GoFundMe is set up for community members to donate to. The goal is to reach $400,000, with $6,300 raised as of Sept. 8. The board members of the Smithtown Performing Arts Center are very confident they can reach their goal as long as donations are placed and fundraisers are successful.
The Smithtown Performing Arts Council made an offer of $1.3 Million to purchase the historic theater at the time the property was listed, but are currently awaiting a decision on the matter.
With the support of the Smithtown Performing Arts Council, a nonprofit organization, a benefit performance with some of Long Island’s most talented artists will be held on Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and donate to the cause.
To donate to save Smithtown Performing Arts Center, visit www.gofund.me/93a0c9fe.