$5M Gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to Help Revive Baltimore’s Parkway Theater

Baltimore’s long-closed Parkway Theatre is getting a new chance at life. Thanks to a $5 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, one of the world’s leading private international philanthropic organizations, Johns Hopkins University and its partners, the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Maryland Film Festival, will be able to continue work on a renovation project which will turn the historic building into a center for the study, production and exhibition of film.

Rendering of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center

Baltimore’s long-closed Parkway Theatre is getting a new lease on life. Thanks to a $5 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, one of the world’s leading private international philanthropic organizations, Johns Hopkins University and its partners, the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Maryland Film Festival, it will be able to continue work on a renovation project which will turn the historic building into a center for the study, production and exhibition of film.

The 420-seat Parkway Theater was constructed in 1915, near the corner of Charles Street and North Avenue. It was a classic American movie palace inspired by the West End Theater in London and the Strand in New York. Parkway Theater closed in the 1970s, due to the urban decline that swept through Baltimore. But, in recent years, the surrounding area has come back to life and is now seen as a key component of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

The new building will be named the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center. It will feature three screens, 600 seats and live performance space. Johns Hopkins believes it will support cultural and economic growth in the area and help turn the Station North neighborhood into an important Baltimore arts destination. The new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center is scheduled to open in late 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,” Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said in a press statement. “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 Stavros Niarchos Foundation is firmly committed to supporting community development such as that at the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and is excited to partner with this unique alliance of academic and cultural institutions in Baltimore,” Andreas Dracopoulos, co-president of the board of directors of the foundation, added. “We believe the combination of universities and arts organizations is a great untapped resource for improving our cities, and we seek to provide support for the best initiatives such coalitions develop. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center will be one of these.”

Rendering courtesy of Ziger/Snead Architects