Art Theatre Burns Down

posted by Roger Katz on April 5, 2004 at 5:58 am

BINGHAMTON, NY — The Art Theatre burned down on February 9, 2004 due to a fire sparked by a faulty 75 watt lightbulb.

The theater went up quickly since its 1924 roof was covered with oil-based paints. The Art’s owner, Richard Krus, who bought the former “adult” theatre in 1987 and turned it into the county’s only venue to see art films, wants to rebuild the theater using the walls that remained.

However, the city has said remains of the structure are unsafe and has ordered it demolished by the end of April. Krus, who lacked insurance on the theater, has become so frustrated with the city’s lack of support that he’s decided to look elsewhere for a location for his theater.

Photos of the fire are available at the City of Binghamton Professional Fire Fighters website.

Comments (5)

br91975 on April 6, 2004 at 3:14 pm

Enlighten me, Michael – just what is it that you ‘contribute’ to this web site, anyway?

richardg on April 6, 2004 at 3:40 pm

Thanks Roger and Patrick for solving the mystery theatre for me. I found a picture of this theatre four years ago while looking around in a closed movie palace in Pennsylvania. It had been sent to the theatre owner in PA. but without any notation as to its location. The photo was taken during the time period when the theatre was showing “King Of The Hill” in the evenings and “The Rocky Horror” on Saturdays at midnight. Anyone know if this was a profitable single screen theatre?

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on April 6, 2004 at 5:19 pm

Richard, since the current owner had bought it in 1987 and switched from porn to art movies it had done well and had just undergone renovations. Unfortunately, it does not look like the guy is going to reopen anywhere in Binghamton. He is currently screening his movies in Owego.

MJKelleher on April 30, 2004 at 8:13 pm

Richard Krus isn’t screening movies in Owego, he sold the website and phone number to another theater owner in Owego, and is going to be leaving the area.

An organization has formed to try and keep independent films in Binghamton, and if possible restore the Art Theater. Mr. Krus sold the site to a developer, and the group has been negotiating with both him and the City of Binghamton to save the shell, with an eye to rebuilding. We’ll see if that can happen.

MJKelleher on June 26, 2004 at 7:38 am

Just an update on the status of the Art Theater: alas, it can now be added to the list of demolished theaters, the site is now bare, flat dirt.

Our organization fought the developer, fought the City, negotiated our hearts out with both, whipsawed with deadlines from each side. In the end, we were unsuccessful in getting any part of the building saved. The developer gave us a price for purchasing the “cleaned” site, which we have declined.

However, we are still working towards bringing back an art theater, showing movies in a temporary site and getting our paperwork ducks in a row to do fundraising and make long range plans. My hope is to build from scratch, using the facade of the Art Theater as a model, but that’s me personally. Stay tuned for the next installment of this cliff-hanger!

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