Acrosstown Theatre needs your vote

Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.

You can help the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre win a $50,000 grant so that it can continue to provide diverse and innovative performances while maintaining low ticket prices.



What: Help the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre get a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant.
When: Vote online this month, beginning today.
Where: Visit
Information: Call 352-262-8971 or visit

And it won't cost you a dime. All you have to do is take a few seconds to vote online each day.

The Acrosstown is taking part in the Pepsi Refresh Project to win a $50,000 grant.

"The key is to vote daily," said Cindy Lasley, grant writer at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre, adding that the theater's proposal for a $50,000 grant to upgrade electrical wiring, lighting, signage and seating was chosen to compete in the Pepsi Refresh Project. The theater is located in the Baird Center at 619 S. Main St.

Lasley said voting is easy. Just go to and register to vote, then go to "browse ideas" and search for Acrosstown Repertory Theatre.

"The goal is to obtain at least 500 votes per day," said Lasley, who also said those interested can vote from anywhere in the country, so it would really help if you tell your friends and family.

"People can get friends and relatives to vote," said Lasley. "Popularity wins and your vote can make a difference."

In a press release, Paul Gabbard, vice chair of the Acrosstown board of directors, said, "This is an opportunity for people to come together and support the Gaineville arts community without having to spend a lot of money or time."

Lasley said each month, the Pepsi Refresh Project funds successful proposals in health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education.

"The program is open to individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations with ideas that will have an impact in their community," said Lasley, adding that each month, 1,000 projects are chosen to compete for $5,000, $25,000, $50,000 and $250,000 grants.

The Acrosstown Repertory Theatre was founded in 1980 as an African-American theater by former Gainesville storyteller and musician Ajamu Mutima, along with Paula Barco, Janet Middleton, Jerry James and Stacey Bell.

The first production, "Wine in the Wilderness," was performed in the summer of 1980 in an abandoned space provided by the city of Gainesville in the Star Garage in downtown Gainesville. In 1986, the members obtained not-for-profit status and eventually moved to its present location in the Baird Center.

Lasley said the economy and construction work on Main Street has taking its toll on the theater's attendance, and funding for the arts as well as donations have also decreased.

Angela Terrell, a member of the Acrosstown board of directors, said cuts in state and local funding have gone from $20,000 per year to less than $5,000 per year.

Lasley said Gainesville has excellent theaters, including the Hippodrome State Theatre, the Gainesville Community Playhouse, and the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre. "We all have our niche," said Lasley. "The Acrosstown Repertory Theatre is a hidden gem."

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