The Stavros Niarchos Foundation will provide Hopkins with $5 million, enabling the University to work with the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the Maryland Film Festival to renovate the Parkway Theater. The theater, located near the corner of Charles Street and North Avenue in Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District, is slated to open as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center in 2016.
“This is a once-in-a-generation moment for Johns Hopkins and our partners at MICA and the Maryland Film Festival to reclaim a part of Baltimore’s storied cultural history and transform it into the heart of our community’s vibrant, dynamic future,” Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said. “With the visionary support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, we are seeding artistic and economic opportunities for our students, our neighbors and our city.”
The Parkway Theater, which was constructed in 1914, is located about a mile south of the Homewood campus, and, strewn with graffiti and broken glass, the building has been closed since the 1970s.
In December of 2013, Hopkins, MICA and the Maryland Film Festival announced that they would be cooperating to restore the Parkway Theater. This $17 million project aims to incorporate three screens, 600 seats and spaces for live performances, along with classrooms for students studying film in both institutions into the refurbished theater.
The project will provide the Maryland Film Festival with an arena in which it can host its annual international film festival each May, along with small film screenings throughout the rest of the year. For the past 15 years, the Maryland Film Festival has been held in the Charles Theatre.
“With the new state-of-the-art Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center, the Maryland Film Festival will greatly expand its reach,” Jed Dietz, Maryland Film Festival director, said. “The center will enable us to bring more great films and filmmakers to Baltimore, host a broad range of arts programs, serve as a cultural anchor for the film community and continue to market Baltimore as a leading location for film and TV production. The center will be a thriving hub for film culture and creative film-making on the East Coast.”
The Foundation’s $5 million donation will be a component of the University’s “Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins” initiative, which aims to raise $4.5 billion by 2017 to support members of the University and Johns Hopkins Medicine in researching solutions to global problems and providing scholarships to students. So far, over $2.7 billion has been contributed to the fund.
The Parkway Theater project also complements the efforts of the Homewood Community Partnership Initiative (HCPI), to which the University has contributed $10 million. Through this program, the University aims to work with local political and business leaders that improve conditions in 10 neighborhoods that are located near Homewood. So far, the HCPI has made 29 recommendations for improving this area.
“At its core, HCPI is a partnership that brings the unique strengths of its partners to the table around a common vision. Johns Hopkins will act as catalyst, convener and advocate,” SCPI’s website states.
In 2002, the City of Baltimore granted the 20-block-wide Station North Arts and Entertainment District, where the Parkway Theater is currently located, with tax-exempt status in order to spark an artistic revitalization. The area already contains a wide variety of studios, theaters, cafes and music venues.
The Stavros Niarchos foundation is named after Stavros Spyros Niarchos, a decorated soldier and prominent Greek businessman. The Foundation provides funds for projects that aim to enhance education, health, arts, culture and social welfare.