AUBURN — The South Street corridor has been splashed with some 1930s art deco style.

The Cayuga County Arts Council unveiled the doors to the Auburn Schine Theater at 4 p.m. Friday before more than 30 onlookers. As soon as the black plastic tarp was pulled down, several in attendance could be heard applauding "How beautiful" and "That's amazing" above the horns and engines of midday South Street traffic.

The doors' solid green and terra cotta-colored sections of laminated plastic are bisected by curved bars of black and white. High-gloss metal trim encases the doors' edges. This art deco design pattern has also been restored to the theater's box office.

"I've been a big art deco fan for a long time, so I'm not surprised by the colors," said Peter Wisbey, director of the Seward House. "They're beautiful landscape colors that reinforce that the theater used to be big, showy and splashy, and can be again."

The crowd only saw 12 of the 22 doors that arts patrons will one day pass through to enjoy an evening of performing arts. That day remains distant - as far away as 2012, estimates Dia Carabajal, president of the Cayuga County Arts Council. But she believes that the renovated doors represent a chance to celebrate something positive in downtown Auburn.

"These doors mark a milestone and give a real new look to the South Street corridor," Carabajal said.

The doors are the product of several years of work with a price tag topping $175,000. The gradual influx of funds from New York state resulted in an equally gradual restoration process of more than six years. Although the cost and length of the project has drawn criticism from some members of the community, Carabajal believes they are outnumbered by the theater's supporters.

"There is a silent group of nostalgic Auburnians who really want to see this project fly," Carabajal said.

For full report read Saturday's edition of The Citizen.

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