Two recent achievements have moved the Strand closer to becoming the downtown Plattsburgh focal point that people have spent years envisioning.
The first was the hiring of Jessica Dulle as the executive director who will guide the renovated movie theater into its grand role as a performing-arts facility.
Dulle is a vivacious young woman with a useful combined background in arts and business and experience as an arts council director and in museums and theaters.
She is already getting out and meeting community members and speaking enthusiastically about performances planned for the theater. (She says that if you like to laugh, you shouldn’t miss “The Calamari Sisters: A Musical Cooking Lesson” this Friday and Saturday.)
Dulle is enthusiastic about channeling her creativity and energy into a site that she sees as having abundant community support.
And she’s right. Anyone who has attended an event since the Strand started sporadically hosting shows can see that audiences are thrilled at the opportunity to attend live performances there.
You can see them talking and laughing excitedly with each other, studying the refurbished wall embellishments, taking in the showpiece chandelier.
Dulle took the stage at the start of the well-attended Joey Thomas Big Band’s Sinatra Show last Sunday to announce a milestone: The Strand Center for the Arts had, last week, been granted its official charter.
The pieces are now in place for the theater to mature into a consistent site in which to attend crowd-pleasing performances.
SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College have always made cultural contributions to the area and will continue to do so.
But the new stage presents an opportunity not only to entertain audiences but to rejuvenate downtown Plattsburgh.
That section of the city is already being invigorated by a smattering of new shops and restaurants, an enlivened Downtown Association and the successful First Weekends promotions.