Talk to Michael Quinniey for just a moment and the passion that explodes from every statement assures you that he is man who gets things done. Quinniey is currently leading the restoration of the Sattler Theatre at 512 Broadway through the Western New York Minority Media Professionals (WNYMMP). The plans for the building were announced in 2008, support and donations continue to increase as word spreads about the project.
“We’ve picked up a lot of feedback and support nationally for what we are doing with the Sattler,” said Quinniey. The group has been securing the building and assembling the LLC while filling out every grant they come across. Although no major work has begun on the building it was better for the group. Says Quinniey, “It’s good that work didn’t begin right away because it brought our overall vision for the project into focus.”
People have been coming out of the woodwork since the project was announced with historical pictures and information. WNYMMP has partnered with Barbara Seals Nevergold who has a great collection of vintage photographs her father took in the 1930s. Visitors have been coming far and wide to see the building including a group of French tourists that visited to document the history and beauty of the Sattler.
WNYMMP has recently filled out the Part One for the National Register application which could result in landmark status and tax credits. “Flynn Battaglia will be our architectural firm which handles our historical aspect of the project,” said Quinniey. Once the all the funds have been secured the first phase of the project will include roof repairs, cleaning out the interior of the building and façade repairs utiling the expertise of Boston Valley Terra Cotta. Asbestos remediation will also be included in the first phase that is expected to cost $250,000.
The entire restoration of the project will cost $5.5 million which is being primarily raised through donations and grants. “We only have ever asked for or needed 12 percent of our costs and the rest we can raise ourselves,” explains Quinniey. Once complete, the theatre will be host to the Annual Professionals of Color in Media Hall of Fame Awards Dinner. It will also showcase films, theater productions, events, and concerts. The building may even be used as small conference space if there is demand for it.
After the restoration of the theater a new building is planned directly behind it. The Bob Coles Institute for the Media Arts and Technology will house the WNYMMP museum and studio space. It will be unique with moveable panels allowing for a reconfiguration of the space to accommodate performances, classes, or whatever else is needed.
The group is not only focused on the reuse of this incredible building, but also the impact it has on the surrounding community. WNYMMP is dedicated to the youth of the area and fosters relationships with many students to see them excel. “If young people can be a part of something like this, it gives them hope as the city rebuilds. This project means a lot more than just the building, it means hope for the kids in the community,” says Quinniey. The Sattler was recently added to the Michigan Avenue African American Cultural Corridor.
WNYMMP will be hosting an affinity session with the National Trust Conference this October. So far their affinity session is leading in pre-sale tickets, which was a great surprise. They will be showcasing what is next for the project and how they reach out to the community. Join them for their affinity session or a number of their happy hour parties by staying up to date through their website.