Silver Screen Superstar – Gem Theater Cairo, Illinois
$40.00 – $495.00
Long Exposure Photograph with color light from a Protomachines flash cascade across the seats of the Gem Theatre. You open up the history book of Cairo, IL and you will squint and wince and shake your head in disbelief the entire read-through. From the constant threat of floods, to the demise of various industries, to shocking lynchings, and the racial tensions that broke into riots to combat racism. Population peaked a century ago at over 15,000 … today it’s about 1700. The Gem Theatre opened in 1910, but a couple decades later, a fire raged through. The Art Deco elements you see today are from the rebuild in the ‘30s for $2.8M in today’s dollars. The theatre eventually closed in 1978, but was used as retail space and video store. In the ‘90s, when the Gem was donated to Cairo, the Peace Corps tried to save the building by replacing the roof and renovating the lobby and marquee. Cairo received a sizable grant in 2000, with about half going towards more renovations to the Gem. Unfortunately, the redevelopment stalled out. Today, any remnant of renovations have long been destroyed by people, animals, and the elements. Something sad lurks under the land and water here. Attempts to succeed are met with walls as thick as the levees that surround this river town.
Frame not included with print purchase.
8″ x 10″ Print will have some cropping.
See “Additional Information” below for descriptions of print materials (i.e. Chromaluxe).