Being an Austin native may mean you remember certain things like the many different things the Paramount Theatre has been over the years. It may also mean you are season ticket holders to one of the best historical theaters in the state. It may also mean you like the famous product that comes out of Austin--SPAM. Well, maybe not.
Built in 1929 as Austin’s first run movie theatre, is one of four such atmospheric theaters in the state. By atmospheric, it must transport the theatre goer into a different time period then present. This theatre does do that and more! Originally this theatre had 914 seats--people were smaller back then and needed less room. In the restoration that was undertaken by various donors, it now has 622 seats including the prime place to sit--the balcony. It is this seating and the Spanish Villa under the stars feel including the twilight blue sky with hues of reds, oranges, and maroons and more that make it a very atmospheric feel.
While not a big theatre, it does indeed serve a great purpose in Austin. It houses the Matchbox Theathre--a Children’s Theatre company in Austin--the various performing arts happenings of Austin, and the Austin Area Commission for the arts. As such, this once popular theatre is an integral part of the arts community in Austin now thanks to those who restored it from its bar days from 1975-1987.
It was in 1985 that the Paramount Theatre got put on the National Historical Registry. Through many different donors and many volunteers, this once renown place was brought back to her glory. Now she stands as a pinnacle of historical architecture in Austin and the surrounding towns.
While restoration has been completed there is an expansion potential underway at the Paramount that could have vast impacts on the art community in Austin and beyond. The Austin Area Commission for the Arts, which was formed in 1987 to supervise the restoration of the building, is seeking grant funds to expand. If they were to get the funding and if thes plans fall in line with the Vision 2020 process , the Austin Area Art Center could move out of its current Oak Park Mall location and join the Paramount. While this would seem like an idea location for such, funding is the crucial element that would bring these two organizations under one roof!
Until then, the two are linked through social media efforts, marketing efforts of each other, and are key players in the Austin Area Commission for the Arts! The future does look like they will merge but when is the question!