NEW LONDON, CT (CelebrityAccess) – The Garde Arts Center has earned the 2022 Outstanding Historic Theatre Award from the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT). The honor was announced at the league’s national conference, which took place July 10-13 in Cleveland.
In presenting the award to Garde Executive Director Steve Sigel, LHAT President and CEO Ken Stein said, “The 1926 Garde Arts Center stood out among an impressive list of nominations to claim the award this year. While there were many reasons the Garde was worthy of the award, our judges were particularly impressed with how connected the theater was to almost every aspect of its community.”
Sigel said of the Garde’s getting the award, “I was thrilled.” He also was surprised, since so many historic theaters are in bigger cities with much heavier budgets. “They gave us the award for everything we’ve done but especially the way we’ve reached into the community,” Sigel said.
The nonprofit LHAT, which was founded in 1976, now has more than 1,100 users representing 380 historic theaters and organizations.
According to LHAT, the Outstanding Historic Theatre Award “recognizes a theatre that demonstrates excellence through its community impact, quality of programs and services, and quality of the restoration or rehabilitation of its historic structure. An award-winning theatre will have demonstrated excellence through significant achievement, the impact of its services and breadth of populations served, and the length of time and/or intensity of its activities,” per their website.
Theday.com reports the Garde board of trustees will host a public Garde Award-Sharing Ceremony on August 25 at the theater. The reception will include images from the Garde’s history shown on its movie screen, along with a preview of the venue’s future plans as it approaches its centennial in 2026. There will be honorary speakers, and people will be able to take photos with the award.
During this year’s conference, Sigel and Curtis Goodwin, the Garde’s director of youth and community engagement, co-presented two educational sessions of Those People, a documentary about the New London Talent Show and how it affected the lives of the young people. The documentary was directed by Peter Huoppi of The Day and produced by Huoppi and Goodwin. Sigel and Goodwin’s presentation at the conference focused on how the Garde and youth arts activists “transformed the community of New London.”
Goodwin said, “I was both proud and overwhelmed with the significance of this award for the Garde and the impact our presentation of Those People had on leaders from across the country. This acknowledgment shows the power of the arts and the vital role institutions like the Garde play in shaping and empowering our communities.”