Press Release

Gillibrand, Schumer Secure Commitment From National Endowment For Arts Chair To Keynote League Of Historic Theatres Conference In Schenectady

Jun 10, 2011

Washington, DC – At the invitation of U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman, announced he will tour Proctors Theatre in Schenectady this summer and give the keynote address at the annual conference of the League of Historic American Theatres.

In their invitation to Chairman Landesman, the Senators highlighted the theatre as a national model of “art that works” by renovating a former vaudeville theatre, 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. “I am so pleased to welcome Chairman Landesman to the Capital Region, giving Proctors Theatre the chance to show the nation how we can revitalize communities, bring new energy, new businesses and new jobs.”

“I’m so pleased that Chairman Landesman will have the opportunity to see firsthand how Proctors has revitalized downtown Schenectady,” said Schumer. “The Chairman’s visit will highlight the positive impact this theatre has had on the community – helping create jobs and boosting the local economy.”

“Proctors is tickled to have attracted the attention of the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors Theatre. “It’s rare for such a visit to the capital region by that office and a testament to the regional significance of Proctors efforts and work, from education to downtown to Capital Repertory Theater.”

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 inviting Chairman Landesman 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