Sunday, October 6, 2013

Save Essanay!

Virginia Valli Essanay Studios
Virginia Valli in front of the historic Essanay Studios entrance

For a few months now, I've had the opportunity to work closely with a wonderful group of people still firmly entrenched in the world of silent film -- the interns, volunteers and staff at Chicago's Essanay Studios. Although the complex has gone through many owners since the days of Broncho Billy Anderson and George Spoor, many of its iconic features remain, including its iconic terra cotta entrance that beautifully displays the studio name and Mary Spoor's iconic Essanay logo.

Essanay Studiios

The studio was named a historic landmark in the '90s, but our team is dedicated to making it even more than that. We're working to restore the iconic entrance way and restore and renovate the legendary Studio A to help it become the Essanay Centers. The Centers will be the the place for people in and around Chicago and Illinois to come and learn about early film, while also providing a performance space that can be used by students and experts in the world of the visual arts. 

The team has been working hard to make this dream a reality by seeking out grants and donations, but we need help. We've launched an indiegogo campaign to help us raise the funds needed to save and restore the cracking and crumbling entrance way, and to start the process of adapting historic Studio A to become an immersive early film experience. You can learn more about this project by visiting the campaign home page here: igg.me/at/essanay  Every little bit helps, and we've got some great perks for all of our generous backers!

You can also learn more by visiting the official Essanay site, or checking out the Essanay accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

Please help us spread the word and make this historic film landmark a beacon of old and new media for Chicago and silent film fans everywhere.