Fine Arts begins fundraisers for Maxie Theater

Monday, July 1, 2013

About year after the Maxie Theatre was donated to the Trumann Fine Arts Council, they are ready to begin fundraisers for their renovations. Former owners Pauline Noel, and the late Jack Noel, donated the theater to last year with the perspective that it was the most beneficial action to take for the community.

Letha Owens, president of the Fine Arts Council, hopes to restore the theater to put it back in business for the benefit of the community. The council is beginning to hold fundraisers to raise enough money to apply for a matching grant to help with clean-up and renovations. Owens said their first generous donation came from Karen Woods-Davis who grew up in Trumann and worked at the Maxie as a young girl.

The first fundraiser is a Sock Hop, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Trumann Sports Complex Saturday, June 29. The DJ will be Gaylon Muse. Price of admission will be $10 for adults and $5 for children. Refreshments will be served such as hot dogs, popcorn and drinks.

Owens said they are looking for volunteers to come at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 28, to help decorate for the event.

The next event planned for the benefit of the Maxie is a Celebrity-Waiter Dinner. Owens said they will be looking for volunteers to dress as celebrities and wait tables. Guests will also be able to have a dress-theme for their own table. Tickets for the event will be $12.50 per person, or organizations can choose to sponsor a table.

"We are looking for fun things to get the community involved and interested in what we are doing," Owens said.

So far, the Fine Arts Council has been working on cleaning and painting the theater. After raising more money, they hope to have the electrical system rewired, new seats, new flooring and other things done to the Maxie. Their intent is to restore the Maxie to it's original condition, within the confines of it being on the National Register.

She added the council is hoping to plan a gospel singing night for the month of October.

The Maxie Theater was built in 1946 by John Hurd and Zell and Lonnie Jaynes. It opened on Aug. 20, 1947, with a matinee performance. At the time, the Maxie was one of the most modern, state-of-the-art theatres in northeast Arkansas. It was operated by the Noels from 1962 to 2012.

In April 2011, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to the Arkansas Historic Preservation program, it was nominated to the National Register under Criterion C with local significance for its Art Deco design.

Anyone wishing to donate or volunteer to help with fundraising for the Maxie, may contact Letha Owens at (870) 483-5878 or Ronnie Harrison at (870) 284-0576. Donations may also be mailed to P.O. Box 185, Trumann 72472.

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