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Event celebrates Suffolk Theater renovation

Even though the curtains closed on the Suffolk

Even though the curtains closed on the Suffolk Theatre in 1987, it's not hard to picture it in its glitzy heyday with bright lights beaming down on crowds of locals. Opened in 1930, the 800-seat movie house now sits silently on Main Street in Riverhead. The theater's front facade and marquee were restored in 2001. (Aug. 5, 2010) Photo Credit: Colleen Harrington

Turning on a movie marquee usually isn’t typically cause for celebration, but on Sept. 2, hundreds of people are expected for a three-hour event that will end with a new high-tech digital sign being lighted on the old Suffolk Theater on Riverhead’s East Main Street.

The theater’s sign has been dark since the 800-seat movie house closed in 1987. It is undergoing reconstruction and is expected to reopen in 2012.

The event, organized by the East End Arts Council, will start with a gallery reception from 5 to 7 p.m. for its first “red dot” show, an exhibit in which buyers will display works by Long Island artists they have collected. In galleries, a red dot is typically placed on the frame of a sold painting.

The Arts Council promotes local East End artists and wanted to give the collectors who purchase their works a chance to compete for recognition, according to marketing manager Stephanie Smith. The artists’ signatures will be covered, and a juror will choose the “best find” among entries.

As part of the program, arts journalist and museum curator Charles Riley will give a talk and, at 7 p.m., Riverhead Townscapes will be sponsoring a concert by the Sunnyland Jazz Band in the open space behind the Arts Council building on the Peconic River.

At 8 p.m., the theater marquee will be lighted. A dozen local restaurants will stay open late and offer discounts on their menus. The new Hyatt Place hotel on East Main Street will be giving out free coffee, Smith said.

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