Press Release

Gillibrand, Schumer Invite National Endowment For The Arts Chair To Keynote League Of Historic Theatres Conference In Schenectady

Jun 8, 2011

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer today wrote to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman, inviting him to visit Proctors Theatre in Schenectady this summer to give the keynote address at the annual conference of the League of Historic American Theatres.

The Senators highlighted the theater as a national model of “art that works” by renovating a former vaudeville theater, and transforming it into a beacon of vitality in the community. Proctors now hosts nearly 1,730 evens each year, draws over 600,000 visitors, helped leverage over $250 million in investment in the community, and helped create over 3,500 new local jobs.

“Proctors Theatre is a shining example of what we can do when we restore the livelihood of one of our most treasured local landmarks,” Senator Gillibrand said. “On a national stage, Proctors Theatre can show the nation how we can revitalize communities, bring new energy, new businesses and new jobs.”

“Not only is Proctors an amazing historical theater, but it is an example of how these venues can be used as the focal point of the revitalization of our downtowns,” said Schumer. “Downtown Schenectady today is almost unrecognizable from a decade ago, and the heart of the transformation is Proctor’s. It draws people downtown, of course, but it has also provided new meeting and convention space, and even generates heating and cooling for neighboring buildings. It is the perfect place for this conference, and the perfect place for Chairman Landesman to visit.”

“Chairman Landesman has brought national attention to the connections between the arts and community and economic development,” said Phillip Morris, CEO of Proctors Theatre, the performing arts center of the Capital Region. “The League of Historic American Theatres is bringing its national conference to Proctors and the Capital Region because of the intense impact that Proctors and its related activities has had on changing downtown Schenectady.  Having the Chairman see further how, as he describes it, ‘Art Works,’ in a community celebrating that effort in front of a national audience will be a total treat for all involved.”

In addition to being an economic engine for the region, Proctors Theatre is leading in sustainability, using federal and state funding to build a water-based renewable energy source that powers its own needs, and using its own waste to heat and cool itself and neighboring businesses.


The full text of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer’s letter is below:


June 7, 2011

Mr. Rocco Landesman
National Endowment for the Arts, Chairman
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Room 520
Washington, DC 20506

Dear Chairman Landesman,

As you continue to tour the country on behalf of the Endowment, we hope that will you consider visiting Proctors Theatre in Schenectady this summer to address the annual conference of the League of Historic American Theaters.  From July 12th through 15th, Proctors will be host to the leaders of 250 American theaters of historical significance.  We join with Proctors in inviting you to be the keynote speaker at the concluding dinner of the conference on the evening of July 15th.

We applaud your efforts to promote the principle that “Art Works” and to establish that the arts are central to a community’s public, economic and creative life.  Through programs such as Our Town, as well as through collaboration with other federal agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regional planning grants program, you have demonstrated that arts leaders can partner with local political and civic leaders to create more vibrant, prosperous and livable communities.

Proctors Theatre is a prime example that “art works” – the renovation of a former vaudeville house that saved a historic theater and became a magnet drawing others to downtown.  Proctors now hosts over 1,728 events each year, and is attended by over 600,000 people.  Proctors is widely recognized as a catalyst in the economic transformation of downtown Schenectady.  In the last 10 years, over 3,500 new jobs have been created, and over $250 million has been invested in new building, renovation and infrastructure, including 2 new hotels, corporate offices, many more restaurants and bars, and a new 6-screen cinema.

Moreover, the theater is a leader in “green” technology.  With the assistance of federal and state funds, Proctors built a water-based renewable power source that supplies its own needs and uses waste heat to provide institutional heating and cooling to neighboring businesses.

Schenectady is located in the greater New York Capital Region, in the historic and beautiful Hudson River Valley.   Proctors has become a cultural leader for the region; it established the first organization for regional arts executives, Capital Arts Alive, and is developing the first regional “arts celebrating technology” festival, scheduled for October 2011, which will feature over 50 arts organizations.  If you should be interested in combining a visit to Proctors Theatre and the conference with meetings with other local organizations, we would be happy to assist. 

            Thank you again for your attention to this important request, and your continued work promoting the arts in our communities.  If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ben Rosenbaum in Senator Gillibrand’s office or Grant Kerr in Senator Schumer’s office. 




Kirsten E. Gillibrand                                                     Charles E. Schumer United States Senator                                                 United States Senator