Arts

Fox Foundation Brings on New Development Consultant

On the heels of the tragic and unexpected passing of the Fox’s Executive Director Steve Forry on Feb 13, the Fullerton Historic Theatre Foundation (FHTF) Board of Directors were fortunate to be introduced to Austin Barrow as a Development Consultant to help fill part of the void. Austin officially started working for the FHTF on March 30 and attended the State of the City event at Cal State Fullerton.  His duties will include leading a new fundraising committee, structuring grant application programs, and developing strategic relationships with corporate, public, and private sector organizations to develop funds to complete the construction of the Fox (plus ongoing operations after its opening).

Barrow, who lives in Laguna Beach with wife Laura and their two kids, hails from El Dorado, Arkansas where he oversaw the development of the Murphy Arts District, a four-block area revitalizing downtown El Dorado as a regional entertainment and arts destination. Barrow raised 125 million dollars for the development of the project and became the project’s President and COO once it was completed. He has bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arkansas. The Fox looks forward to his contribution and support.

If you see Austin Barrow around, please introduce yourself and welcome him to Fullerton. To learn more about developments at the Fox, visit www.foxfullerton.org.

Austin is welcomed aboard by FHTF Board President, Brian Newell. Photo courtesy of Fox Historic Theater Foundation.

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8 replies »

  1. I don’t mean to sound negative, but, this feels the Fullerton Fox has been “too long” too be re developed. It wasn’t really that great to begin with, it’s small and not up to code. It’s easier to tear it down and re build than waste time and money. The fact it hasn’t been in use since 87, why are we putting money constantly into the building??

  2. There’s a 93 year-old lady who (to this day), comes into a local bar in Fullerton regularly using her walker and orders her Bud Lite. On December 7th, 1941 she was one her way to the Fox to see a movie but found out the theatre was closed because Pearl Harbor had just happened.

    History is important and those places where history happened are important. People like to connect with history and they do that by visiting places like museums, state and national parks, heck even pulling over to the side of a road or highway to see what the historical marker says.

    For over 60 years before it closed in 1987, the Fox Fullerton was re-telling history in its performances and movies, making history with people who attended the Fox like Mary Pickford, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, Judy Garland, Jayne Mansfield and more. Or, making personal, Fullerton histories of a first date, a first kiss or witnessing the fantastical reality of a space movie with heroes and villains wielding laser swords.

    The building itself oozes all that history with it’s own pedigree of being a sister theatre to the famous Hollywood theatres with Grauman’s Chinese and Egyptian (same architect/builder Meyer & Holler), the murals and art by Anthony Heinsbergen and John Beckman (Catalina Casino).

    While it’s been a long, slog since the Fox was saved from the wrecking ball in 2004 that would’ve ended all this history for more stucco apartments, it has the wind at its back with over $14m having been invested so far and a new, second phase started this month. This new phase will add new bathrooms, heating and air-conditioning systems, ADA access and restoration work. While the Fox won’t be “finished-finished” it will be very, very close to having shows regularly on its stage and on its screen for the community to enjoy, making more personal histories and further inspire (motivate) more donations to get it to the finish line.

    A little elderly man walked into the Fox’s office across from Fullerton Community Bank (now Pacific Premiere) in November of 2004. It was the 25th hour of the 25th hour before the wrecking ball would take its first swing at the Fox’s stage house. He said “I hear you’re trying to save that old theatre. How much are you short” (from a challenge grant put up by the City)? “$700,000” we (Foundation President Jane Reifer and myself) said. He scratched his chin and said “How bout I give you a million dollars and you meet me at Citizens Bank (Wilshire and Harbor) in two hours?”. We did as told and he handed us a cashiers check for $700,000 and said, “I will also give you $100,000 over three months”. After letting our jaws find their way from the floor back to our faces, he added “This is a gift for Fullerton. I want this to be anonymous and want nothing in return.”

    That gentleman made history at the Fox…again.

    Some things are worth saving and there’s more to value than just money and time.

  3. Bob and Brady- You sound as if you’re sincere. Would you agree the world is a better place with Todd Huffmans popping up at the right moment to fill in some blanks? I’d like to buy the elderly woman a Bud Light and toast the elderly man who practiced frugality at Fullerton Community Bank. They represent some of the best of America.

    What stumps me is whether Austin sports suave dinner jackets or classic beards?

  4. I agree. I’m not questioning the value of history and architecture. Those are two features of Fullerton that attracted me in the first place. Just asking if there are better, more creative means for reaching the ends. Maybe there aren’t. And thanks Todd Huffman for the above info. Great stuff.

  5. Thank you Brady. The best “better way” is for that special donor or group of donors, corporations and government agencies who believe as well and have the means to just “write the check”. The Fox has received great support from the state of California with our newest phase being funded from the wonderful efforts of our State Assembly representative, Sharon Quirk-Silva.

    For now, we feel we have and are expanding “the creative means” (smart people) fitting into place to source those sources and explain/show the vision with progress that has been made, is being made and with realistic plans for the future. The un-sexy work of seismic retrofitting, sealing the theatre from the elements, HVAC, power, plumbing and ADA work will have been completed. Next is the move to the fun, historical fabric renovation and restoration everyone craves. We all want to get it done.

    If there are those folks or companies out there that have the means, believe in the project and want to see things happen faster, by all means contact us at FoxFullerton.org. It’s a tax deductible donation. (I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t ask for the order).

  6. At a time when the economy is pretty much destroyed with bad public policy (Particularly in CA) – this seems like a REALLY BAD investment… what real market research has been done prior to justify this effort?

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