Loren Robare started photographing old movie theaters back in 1978, while she was working on her MFA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When she moved to Chicago in 1982, the year after the ornate Uptown Theatre at Broadway and Lawrence was shuttered, she became fascinated with the building. She finally got access in 1990, and she spent six months shooting. The resulting black-and-white photographs–which document the interior of the Uptown’s 4,381-seat auditorium, the deteriorated art deco ornamentation, and even the basement–have been exhibited several times over the years. Now 12 of them make up the 2002 calendar put out as a fund-raiser by the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts, a not-for-profit group that formed in February 2001 with the goal of restoring the 76-year-old theater. It received a $1 million grant in July and is currently trying to buy the landmark building. In November it signed architectural firm D’Escoto Inc. to do the restoration work. The $25 calendar is available at www.uptowntheatrechicago.com, the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Architecture Foundation store, and a few area bookstores; call 773-561-5700.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Loren Robare.