downtown swainsboro

downtown swainsboroThe Dixie Theatre was enjoyed by all until, sadly, its doors were closed in the late 1960s. The building was then used as a retail space and for a short time sat vacant until 2014. At that time, proprietor W.M. Karrh’s grandsons, Bill and Jim, donated the former theatre to the City of Swainsboro for redevelopment into a community arts center. After accepting the property, the City of Swainsboro initiated the project by developing a renovation plan and physically securing the property through the installation of a new roof and other support structures. It also completed a phase one sensitive demolition which removed modifications to the building, revealing the skeleton of the original Dixie Theatre as many remember.

The Barbara & Tobe Karrh Community Arts Center is a 16,000+ square foot home for arts and culture in Emanuel County, anchored by the Historic Dixie Theatre, a cultural and architectural landmark in downtown Swainsboro.

THE COMPLETED PROJECT WILL FEATURE:

A newly restored Historic Dixie Theatre that will offer a state-of-the-art movie going experience. The theatre will have the comforts of modern cinemas in a unique, historic building. In addition to digital projection equipment, the theatre will also feature a stage and equipment needed for live performances such as concerts, seminars, small plays, recitals, and more.

  • Two dressing rooms
  • A new plaza in front of the theatre to provide space for gathering before or after an event
  • Offices for the Emanuel Arts Council
  • Art gallery
  • Community meeting and educational space
  • Upper-story loft apartments

Additional plans include the addition of equipment to facilitate and stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation, such as an audio and video lab with recording and editing facilities and a pottery studio.

Synopsis of Scenes

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Celebrating FTI Grant

Rain did not dampen the spirits of dozens of community leaders gathered at the Emanuel County Courthouse Thursday, May 17th to celebrate the presentation of a Fox Theatre Institute Preservation Grant to The Historic Dixie Theatre. Fox Theatre Institute Director, Leigh Burns, noted the organization’s excitement in partnering with the local project, which includes technical […]
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Facade Improvements Underway

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Mardi Gras Celebration

The Swainsboro Country Club was transformed into Bourbon Street on the evening of Saturday, February 24th for the Emanuel Coalition for Cultural & Economic Development’s Mardi Gras Celebration. The event was held in support of the renovation of the Historic Dixie Theatre and development of the Barbara & Tobe Karrh Community Arts Center. The Country […]