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D’Amours contribute $250,000 to restore Victory Theatre

Date: 1/23/2015

HOLYOKE – Don Sanders, executive artistic director of Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts (MIFA) Victory Theatre, said a recent donation from Donald and Michelle D’Amour  will hopefully be the start of the final phase of a fundraising effort for a critical matching grant.

Sanders explained to Reminder Publications the D’Amours have pledged to contributed $250,000 over the next five years as part of a matching grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural Facilities Fund (MCC-CFF). The grant would pay for the schematics for the renovation project.

The grant is for $260,000. MIFA still needs to raise $200,000 in order to reach it.

“This wonderful gift from the D’Amours is truly what we’re calling a ‘Victory Hero Gift’ because it enables us to see the goal which so many people have strived for,” Sanders said.

Donald D’Amour said, “It is our pleasure to help this important project at this crucial moment.”

Sanders the completion  of this matching grant would be the final step in the process leading up to the planned groundbreaking in the fall.

“It’s my job to be optimistic and I’m cautiously optimistic,” Sanders said. He added the D’Amour gift “puts us in reach.”

Although the architectural plans have been completed, the schematics are necessary to seek the construction bids, he explained.

“This is phase one of the final phase,” Sanders said. 
The architectural plans by Michael Viveiros of Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects had be completed earlier in order for the project to receive state and federal tax credits, Sanders explained.

The 1,600-seat Victory Theatre was built in 1920 and was used as both for both live performances and motion pictures. It was closed and abandoned in 1979. MIFA started its effort to renovate and re-open the theater in 2005 and took possession of it in 2009, Sanders said. 

He called the campaign a “slow long haul,” but added “the end result is going to be so great.”