The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has committed $5 million to Johns Hopkins, enabling the university, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the Maryland Film Festival to transform Baltimore’s historic Parkway Theater into a center for the study, production, and exhibition of film.
The new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center will be a cinema showplace with three screens, 600 seats, and live performance space. Scheduled to open in late 2016, it will help to anchor the Station North neighborhood’s developing role as a Baltimore arts destination, supporting cultural and economic growth in the area.
The 420-seat Parkway Theater, built in 1915 near the corner of Charles Street and North Avenue, was a classic American movie palace patterned after the West End Theater in London and the Strand in New York. It closed in the urban decline of the 1970s, but in recent years the corner of Charles and North has become a key component in planning for the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.
When the 420-seat Parkway Theater opened nearly 100 years ago, it was a stamping ground for the elite, but the theater fell into disrepair in the 1970s. When construction is completed, the renamed Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center will have three screens, 600 seats and a live performance space. Classrooms and office space for film students studying at the Johns Hopkins University and at the Maryland Institute College of Art will be located across the street
“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is firmly committed to supporting community development such as that at the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and excited to partner with this unique alliance of academic and cultural institutions in Baltimore,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, co-president of the foundation and a trustee at Johns Hopkins University. “We believe the combination of universities and arts organizations is a great untapped resource for improving our cities and seek to provide support for the best initiatives such coalitions develop. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center will be one of these.”
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, named after a famed Greek shipping tycoon, is one of the world’s leading private international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. The foundation funds organizations and projects that are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The foundation also seeks actively to support projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.
From 1996 until today, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has approved grant commitments of $1.49 billion, through 2,805 grants to nonprofit organizations in 110 nations around the world.