Categorized | FROGTOWN

Show support for Victoria Theater at Capitol

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen


VTAC Executive Director Tyler Olsen-Highness served the Victoria Theater project for seven years as a project manager, events producer, advisory board member, board chair and member of the executive, building, and fundraising committees before becoming executive director in 2019.

Support the Victoria Theater Arts Center on Wednesday, March 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We need your help visiting our representatives to thank them and encourage their continued support of the Victoria Theater Arts Center (VTAC),” encouraged VTAC Executive Director Tyler Olsen. “This is will be a fun and exciting way to meet other VTAC supporters, and let your voice be heard.”
The governor, the House, and the Senate all have bills in supporting this project.
“Now, we need to ensure that legislators know just how passionate we are about creating a home for community and arts in Frogtown and Rondo,” stated Olsen. “So, on Wednesday, 3/18, we’re going to gather and take the Capitol by storm, so our elected officials get the chance to meet their neighbors.”
The group will gather at the State Office Building room 300 South at 8:30 a.m. From 9:15 to 10 a.m. there will be speeches by Representative Rena Moran, Senator Sandy Pappas, and community artists and leaders.
From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., community members will visit with representatives and senators at the capitol.
“No experience necessary- part of this day will be learning about the process of how to make the change you want to see happen and making friends and allies around the project!” said Olsen.
Governor Tim Walz included $2.4 million for the 105-year-old building in his bonding recommendations this year, as he encourages a significant investment in community organizations that serve people of color.
The center’s Facebook page had this announcement after hearing the news: “Victoria Theater Arts Center is thrilled to be included on this list! How amazing to have champions like Representative Rena Moran, Senator Sandy Pappas, and now Governor Tim Walz for our project. Be sure to send them your support and thanks!”
The theater was nearly paved over as parking lot in 2009.

~ Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com

Colorful past at 825 University Ave.
• The Victoria Theater opened in 1915 for movies and live performances, but became a nightclub less than a decade later. The nightclub was known as the Victoria Café and later Casa Grande.
• The nightclub itself was a speakeasy during Prohibition and was raided at least twice by federal agents during that era.
• It became a target of political leaders who wanted it shut down. Some suspected anti-Semitism in the attacks on the club and its ownership.
• In 1927 the recording “Moonshiners Dance: Part One” was recorded there, by the Victoria Café Orchestra. Moonshiner’s Dance is the only one of 84 recordings in the Anthology of American Folk Music not recorded in the American South or Chicago.
• The Victoria Theater, at 825 University Ave., was one of three University Avenue movie theaters that catered to Frogtown children and families.
• It was designed by noted architect Franklin Ellerbe.
Information courtesy of Jane McClure and Historic Saint Paul.