Members of the Latino International Student Association (LISA) at Holyoke Community College joined the community effort to restore one of the region's architectural gems. LISA members spent August 2, 3 and 4 as part of a volunteer cleanup crew removing plaster and debris from the Victory Theater in downtown Holyoke.
"I was so excited when I heard that the theater was being restored," said LISA president Shanelle Castellano. "I wanted to find a way that our student club could help."
The Victory, a 1,600 seat Broadway-style theatre, opened in 1920 and has been derelict since 1979. The building boasts intricate plasterwork, a mahogany-lined staircase to the balcony, art deco tile, and lovely art deco style bathrooms. Thanks to the efforts of the community and Massachusetts International Art Association (MIFA) and its partners Nessen Associates and Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF), the beautiful Art Deco building is being restored and is expected to re-open in December of 2012.
"The students were really excited about being part of the restoration of the theater," said Jossie Valentin, LISA Club advisor. "So, I contacted the staff overseeing the renovation and offered our assistance, and a couple of weeks later we were in this amazing building carrying tons of buckets of old plaster into a commercial dumpster."
They were days of hard work, especially with high humidity and temperatures in the 90s, "But the students were genuinely happy to be a part of this historic moment. They had no problem at all getting covered in dust and dirt! We hope this is the beginning of a great collaboration between the Victory Theatre and our HCC community," said Valentin.
Want to get involved with the Victory Theatre? Visit their website!