Posted by Bruce Miller
Our foyer at Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn may not be as elegant as the foyer of the National Theatre of Prague (see Progress Continues on Galeski Foyer, posted below), but it’s becoming more impressive bit by bit. Our thanks go out for:
* the hard work, leadership, and financial contributions of Barksdale Board leader John Moon;
* the volunteer design support of Emmy-winning art director David Crank; and
* the major sustaining operational support of Carrie Galeski.
In no small part, these three are leading the charge forward as we continue to build an inviting and exciting entryway to our theatre at Willow Lawn.
That's our friend Carrie Galeski in the photo above and to the right. She's the one holding the award she earned for her work with the Executive Women's Golf Association.
In my last blog report on efforts to spruce up our Willow Lawn facilities (see The Clean Lobby, Sept. 23, 2008), I commented on the fresh crimson paint job, the new hanging lights outside the box office, the sparkling track lighting, the “etched logo” on the glass of our front door, and plans for several more improvements. Now that several of the “several more” have been completed, it’s time to take another look.
Foremost among the recent improvements is a flat screen TV (pictured above and to the left) that constantly runs a video loop of our Emmy Award-winning Barksdale commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5Pmj8iFxp0) preceded and followed by stills from currently running shows at Hanover Tavern (Sanders Family Christmas) and the historic Empire (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever). John Moon not only created the video montage, he also bought and contributed the flat screen TV and the professional grade digital player.
Now anyone waiting in line at the box office will have something interesting to watch.
Equally impressive, our tech director at Hanover Tavern, David Powers, has custom designed and built two bench/storage units to provide seating opposite the door of our elevator. Each bench is designed to store the various pieces of hardware employed by our new photo display system. There’s even a hand-crafted logo built into the benches, making them unique works of craftsmanship.
Our photo display area is still somewhat under construction, but it's coming along nicely. We’re continuing to try out various component parts during the runs of The Clean House and This Wonderful Life, determined to find out which components work best. Cast headshots now are hung individually from vertical rods in handsome new frames. We’re also in the process of replacing the large photo display units that ultimately will house the show shots of each production.
We’ll soon be adding headshots of all the volunteer members of our Board of Trustees, and activity shots portraying Barksdale’s various service initiatives that add so much to the cultural life of Central Virginia.
The vintage Barksdale sign is hanging proudly once again just inside and to the right of the front door. Soon there will be an informative plaque explaining the sign’s history. There’s a new rug inside the front door that bears the Barksdale logo in shades of gray. And there’s a new wooden rack card display unit mounted next to the box office window, better enabling us to promote upcoming productions in all our venues.
In an effort to improve accessibility, two bright overhead lights have been added directly over the box office windows, shining straight down, enabling customers to see clearly the paperwork that is presented to them at the box office. Two mini-blinds have been added to the interior of the box office windows, making it possible to secure our ticket center more effectively during non-business hours.
A museum-quality dedication display has been installed to the left just inside the entry door, recognizing the many contributions of Carrie Galeski and her late husband Ed. Carrie Galeski provided the generous gift that made it possible for us to construct the foyer in 1996. Her steadfast support continues to sustain our operations.
The dedication reads as follows:
“Barksdale Theatre’s Entry Foyer is Dedicated to Edward Whitlock Galeski and Carrie Taylor Galeski.
Ed Galeski was born in Richmond and graduated from M.I.T. with an aeronautical engineering degree. During World War II, he was an Army Air Force flight instructor and was instrumental in testing the B-28 Super-Fortresses which did so much in winning the war in the Pacific.
After the war he went into the photo processing business where he established Galeski Photo Center. Ed showed his intellectual and mechanical aptitude becoming one of the first companies good enough to receive the first color processing machines from Kodak. He continued to expand his business to such a high degree of efficiency that it was sought after and finally purchased by a national chain.
In 1971 he married Carrie Taylor. They enjoyed a deep and binding relationship as they worked together for mutual goals. 'Eddie and I moved to the Hanover Courthouse area in 1980, and there we forged a lasting friendship with Pete and Nancy Kilgore along with Muriel McAuley. This was the beginning of our relationship with Barksdale.'
Ed died in 1986, but Carrie continues to be one of Barksdale Theatre’s strongest supporters. We are eternally grateful.”
Indeed we are.