Madison Art Centre

403 Gallatin Avenue South,
Madison, TN 37115

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Madison Theater, ca. 1938

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Although very little of the original interior of the theatre remains, the exterior of the Madison is still pretty much intact and quite nice. After closing as the movie theatre in 1950, the Madison Theater became a great art gallery and a very popular spot. Future plans included a 2,500 square foot auditorium, in which it was hoped to include some elements of the original theatre.

Unfortunately, the art gallery closed in early 2008.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Danny Proctor
Danny Proctor on October 18, 2005 at 7:43 am

The Madison Art Center has plans to restore the facade of the building to its original appearance. Glass bricks are being sold to patrons for a $100 donation which will be installed on the front of the building to replace the original ones, now covered with aluminum siding. Donated glass bricks will have the donor’s name etched in the glass and the donor will receive a matching brick for a keepsake. The interior was divided into two floors when it became a retail furniture store. Upstairs storage areas reveal a few hints of the original 1930s decor, with Art Deco moldings and ceiling treatments. It’s easy to see where the original balcony and projection room were located.
Dinner theatre fare has proven popular enough to warrant the future addition of a working stage in the main floor gallery and possible classic film screenings but the gallery will still occupy most of the building on both floors.

Danny Proctor
Danny Proctor on October 18, 2005 at 1:39 pm

In his 1997 book, MADISON STATION, Guy Alan Bockman quotes Margaret J. Cain’s “Madison News” column from the OLD HICKORY NEWS about the opening of the Madison Theatre:

“The ‘Grand Opening’ of the new Madison Theatre on 21 April 1938 brought to the growing village ‘Tennessee’s newest, most modern theatre.’ For admission charges of 10¢ and 20¢, patrons enjoyed ‘new floating comfort seats’ in the ‘correctly air conditioned’ auditorium. Perhaps as an innocent portent of what would come to pass, the first feature film was ROMANCE IN THE DARK, with John Boles and Gladys Swarthout.”

The book also includes a few photos featuring the Madison Theatre from a distance.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on October 18, 2005 at 4:24 pm

This is great! Please keep us posted on how this project is going.

Danny Proctor
Danny Proctor on April 2, 2008 at 4:00 pm

The latest news is that the Madison Arts Center has closed. The property owners are considering options for use, including a possible church or home for abused women. The glass bricks mentioned above were indeed installed before the Arts Center went belly-up. I’m hoping some investor will swoop in and save the building before any further remodeling takes place.

Danny Proctor
Danny Proctor on May 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm

The property is currently listed for sale at $650,000. I shudder to think what will become of the building. It’s really in great shape, inside and out, as far as I can tell.

Danny Proctor
Danny Proctor on January 14, 2009 at 3:19 pm

The Madison Theatre building has been bought by the Seventh Day Adventists and will be a multi-use facility for classes etc. Ironically, the glass bricks that run up the center of the front over the marquee were restored not long before the building sold. They’re not lit up at night by flourescent lights inside and look wonderful! A last glimmer of the old glamour that used to live there.

Danny Proctor
Danny Proctor on January 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Correction to previous comment: The glass bricks are NOW lit up at night. Sorry for the typo.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

This theatre is often confused with the Madison Sqaure Theatre A.K.A LOEWS MADISON located behind the Madison Square Shopping Center.They are very close in the area but are 2 different houses,both still stand though.The Madison Sqaure Theatre is a Church now.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

This theatre opened in 1936 and closed in 1950.

amyrmace
amyrmace on April 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm

As an addendum to what Danny Proctor said, the Seventh Day Adventist Community Services Center also operates a thrift store in this location.

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