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The Smith Plans Renovations in 2018

The facade of The Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva
Jason Rogers

The Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva is going to undertake some important renovations in the coming year. Executive Director Susie Monagan says these are important improvements in the 123-year-old space even if they won’t be immediately apparent to audiences.

“They walk into our beautiful lobby and see the gilt and our chandeliers and imagine that the whole place is like that. Well, the dressing rooms are...uh...pretty, as my mother would say it, disgraceful! They’re in desperate need of a makeover. They’re clean and they’re tidy, but they haven’t been touched in a long time.”

There will also be improvements to the downstairs women’s and men’s lounges, which will update and expand the facilities to cut down on lines. Monagan is especially excited that the downstairs work will include opening up the lower-level cabaret space.

“My vision is to see that cabaret space as an alternative performance space. It’s small, you could have maybe 40 people down there seeing a performance, but you could do open mic. You could do stand up comedy, spoken word. Maybe it’s every Wednesday night The Smith has that kind of experience. This refurbishment of the downstairs allows us to do that.”

In all, The Smith Center for the Arts secured more than $700-thousand in funding for renovations from Geneva’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant as well as the New York Main Street Program, and Empire State Development Corporation. Work is expected to begin in the summer of 2018.


Kelly Walker started his public radio career at WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1985 and has spent some time in just about every role public broadcasting has to offer. He has spent substantive time in programming and development at KWMU in St. Louis, WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana, and Troy Public Radio in Alabama before his arrival in Geneva, New York. In addition, his work has been heard on many other public radio stations as well as NPR. Kelly also produces The Sundilla Radio Hour, which airs Sundays at 1 p.m. on Finger Lakes Public Radio and is distributed to public radio stations all over the country through PRX.
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