Matheson History Museum presents “How a Great Theatre Saved a Dying Downtown” with Richard Gartee

Press release from the Matheson History Museum

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Award-winning author Richard Gartee will discuss his book The Hippodrome Theatre First Fifty Years at the Matheson History Museum at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 8. The program will focus in part on the role the theatre’s move to the old Post Office building played in the formation of Gainesville’s historic preservation effort and the revival of its downtown business district. The program is free with registration.

Joining Richard will be former Hippodrome general managers Mark Sexton and Jessica Hurov, who will speak to the positive contribution the Hippodrome’s presence continues to bring to the city and its place as the centerpiece of Gainesville’s artistic community and cultural icon.

Free Registration – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-a-great-theatre-saved-a-dying-downtown-tickets-652934042297

Zoom Registration – https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p83U__zhT4-qpwsvctLD-w

Richard Gartee

Richard Gartee, a longtime subscriber and patron of the Hippodrome, is honored to have contributed to the preservation of its history. Richard is an award-winning novelist who has had six novels, five collections of poetry, and fifteen nonfiction books published. The Hippodrome Theatre First Fifty Years is his twenty-seventh full-length book. Learn more about his writing career and books by visiting www.gartee.com.

Mark Sexton

Mark Sexton acted in Hippodrome plays from 1977 to 2003 and served as general manager during its most explosive period of growth from 1996 to 2004. Mark is presently Communications and Legislative Affairs Director for Alachua County Government.

Jessica Hurov

Jessica Hurov began her career at the Hippodrome as marketing director in 2005. She was later promoted to general manager and became managing director from 2014 to 2018. Jessica is presently Tourism Development Manager of the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau.

This event is sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville/Alachua County, FL and by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.

  • Nope. Ken and Linda Mcgurn are responsible for revitalizing downtown. Not wannabe actors like Mark Sexton.

    • I see you’re a wannabe critic, Joe.

      I didn’t choose the name for this presentation.

      The Hippodrome moved downtown at a very low point in downtown’s history due to so many businesses closing, the move of so many out west, and the opening of the Oaks Mall. Shortly after the theater opened downtown, the McGurns redeveloped the Sun Center surrounding the theater, and downtown was off and running. Many other McGurn developments followed as well as new businesses and other developers. I agree that the courage of Linda and Ken was the single most significant factor in the downtown revitalization. No one appreciates and understands their contributions better than me. But the Hippodrome was a large contributing factor. And the McGurns were passionate and generous supporters of the theater.

      And by the way, I wasn’t a wannabe actor but a working actor, a member of Actors Equity, and the General Manager of the theater. I was also the President of the Downtown Owners multiple times and a multi-term member of the Tenants Association and a member of the Downtown Redevelopment Advisory Board. I have lived, worked, and contributed to the downtown for over 30 years and have a very good understanding of its history and current challenges.

  • >