Woodward, Okla. —
A Woodward landmark is getting spruced up thanks to a generous donation from a local bank.
The Stock Exchange Bank has donated $1,500 to the Woodward Arts & Theatre Council to help restore the marquee at the Woodward Arts Theatre.
The money is going to help pay to replace the white acrylic facing on the marquee as well as replace any broken or damaged light fixtures. The renovation work is being done by Signs Of Life.
"This marquee is an iconic landmark for Woodward and has been for many, many years," said Bruce Benbrook, president of Stock Exchange Bank. "It has been here for so many years that people who have grown up in Woodward and the area, and even others from around the state who have traveled through here, identify our community by this theater and by this marquee."
Because the marquee is such an icon for Woodward, Benbrook said the bank wanted to help make sure the marquee looks its best and continues to be something that the community enjoys.
The bank president said they also made the donation as a show of support for the Woodward Arts & Theatre Council.
"We are pleased to assist the Arts and Theatre Council because they do such a great job and are an important factor in providing arts and culture in Woodward," he said.
Charlie Burns, executive director of the theater, agreed that "the marquee is an icon for Woodward and Northwest Oklahoma, and we feel that it is our duty to preserve it."
That is why Burns said he was so thankful for the bank's donation which has made this modest, but significant restoration of the marquee possible.
"I'm so grateful that we have community partners, like the bank, that are supportive of the arts in Woodward and of furthering our mission of keeping the arts in Northwest Oklahoma," he said. "Stock Exchange has always been a close supporter of the Woodward Arts Theatre. They saw a need and filled that need with their donation for the marquee."
Burns said the last time the marquee's acrylic facing was replaced was likely "when the theatre was renovated in the early 1980s."
Over the last 3 decades, the marquee has suffered some minor but noticeable damage, which this project will repair.
"We're replacing it because of the broken pieces of acrylic and discoloration so that we can achieve uniformity on the marquee faces," Burns said.
Even with just one side partially completed on Thursday morning, he said he could see a significant improvement in the look of the marquee.
"It already looks so much better," he said.
Judith White, chair of the Woodward Arts and Theatre Council, agreed, saying "It's going to look amazing when we get it done."
"I grew up here with this marquee here all my life, so it's wonderful to see it start to look like it did when I was a kid," White said.
And in addition to being an icon for the community, she said the marquee is "a symbol of our Arts and Theatre Council."
"It's a constant reminder every time people go up and down Main Street or they cross at 9th and Main," she said. "It's our calling card. I mean it's even on our stationary."
So by renovating the marquee, White said it will help "call people's attention to the Woodward Arts Theatre, that we're still alive and well and that we want them to come to our shows."
Because in addition to being a community icon and council symbol, the marquee is still one of the main ways the theater promotes its shows and events, such as the upcoming concert by Elvis impersonator Travis LeDoyt on Nov. 14.