App Theatre sign

A new LED sign shines at the Appalachian Theatre in downtown Boone thanks to a Appalachian Regional Commission grant.

The Appalachian Theatre has completed installation of its digital marquee and made other improvement following a $100,000 grant from Appalachian Regional Commission.

“Gone are the days when our marquee letters get frozen in their tracks,” said Executive Director of the Appalachian Theatre Laura Kratt. about the installation of the theater’s new digital marquee.

ARC is a regional economic development agency that is comprised of a partnership between federal, state and local government. The grant to the theatre also provided LED stage lighting fixtures and other energy-efficient equipment to the venue, which reopened its doors last October after an eight-year, $10 million renovation and restoration that involved more than 500 volunteers and thousands of donors.

The ARC equipment grant represents a watershed moment for the project. It is the first federal funding to support the theatre’s renovation and took years of careful planning to secure, officials said.

“This project is particularly impactful because it makes using the building more affordable by lowering event cost while expanding our capacity to provide theatrical and marketing services,” said Kratt. “It’s a great partnership because we share the ARC’s mission to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.”

“We initially wanted to replicate the original marquee and signage from the then-new 1938 theatre,” said Bettie Bond, an Appalachian Theatre trustee who also serves on the Historic Preservation Commission for the Town of Boone.

“It quickly proved unworkable and due to the amount of labor required to manually change the letters, especially in high winds or during inclement weather,” Bond said. “It looks almost exactly the same as the original marquee. The Appalachian Regional Commission grant means that the theatre can change messages from any remote location simply by logging on to a computer.

The mission of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country is to revitalize and sustain this historic community touchstone as a quality home for diverse artists and audiences with a special focus on programs that celebrate our distinctive Appalachian heritage and enhance our capacity to serve as an economic catalyst for Boone and the High Country. Visit for more information.

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