Gratz Grant - Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts

The Preservation League of New York State presented an $8,600 grant to Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts on January 15, at their site in Utica. The grant will support the cost of a feasibility study of the Uptown Theatre building. Utica’s Uptown Theatre opened on Genesee Street in December 1927 as a single screen theatre built for the Kallet Theatre Corp.


Designed by architects Albert H. Jennison and Herbert D. Rushmer, the theatre originally contained 1500 seats and was subdivided over the years to three screens until 2012 when it was restored back to a single theatre for live performances. The building had been closed since 2014, before being acquired by Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts (UTCA) in 2018. Their intention is to restore the theatre and associated spaces for live performances, community classes, movies, and other creative endeavors.

With an $8,600 grant from the League’s Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund, UTCA has retained Preservation Architecture of Albany to complete the study, which will identify needed rehabilitation work, establish a road map for UTCA’s future efforts, and create a resource for discussions with potential funders and others interested in the project’s progress. UTCA will provide a $500 retainer for Preservation Architecture.

“The Uptown is one of the few theatres left of its kind, and the last remaining neighborhood theatre in Utica,” explains Briana Mahoney, Co-Founder of UTCA. “So it's critical that we preserve it as an economic and cultural engine for generations to come. We've heard countless stories from people in the community about their memories of the Uptown. It's a treasured landmark and we are very excited to bring it back to life.”

“The goal of UTCA – to bring new life into this neighborhood theatre, revitalizing the community – is a perfect match for our Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “We’re so pleased to be able to help them realize their goals.”