2013-02-28 / Letters to the Editor

Islander’s legacy helps fund performing arts

Any Jamestowner younger than 30 years old is probably unaware that the old theater on Narragansett Avenue was renovated and operated as a movie house and a stage for live performance. Unfortunately, it only survived for about three years.

When the theater was not profitable enough to continue, it was sold and converted into the mall that exists today. The money from the sale amounted to $10,000. The money was donated to the Rhode Island Foundation and designated to be used for grants to support the performing arts in Jamestown.

My wife, Jane Sprague, was the nominal operator of the theater and once a year we received a report from the foundation on the activities of the fund. It was established on Dec. 30, 1983, and numerous grants have been donated over the years, going back to supporting the Sunday concerts on Shoreby Hill. This year, $1,750 has been distributed.

As of the end of 2012, the fund has grown from $10,000 to $34,487. The theater may have been short-lived, but it has a legacy that will last many more years. As many of you know, Jane passed away in 2005, a victim of cancer at the age of 62. The fund for the performing arts is her legacy.

Bill Sprague
Reservoir Circle

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