Arts and Theater
The people of Albany enjoy art, music and dance and are almost always up for a good show or a party. Here are the places where we gather:
Old Jail Art Center – 201 South 2nd Street. Admission: Free. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Closed Sunday and Monday and major holidays. Open until 7:00pm on Fandangle performance days.
Started in the original stone jail building by Reilly Nail, the Old Jail Art Center houses an internationally acclaimed permanent collection, an outdoor sculpture garden and rotating exhibits that change three to four times per year. In addition, it offers an impressive educational outreach program and houses the historical archives of the Shackelford County region.
While the original jail building is still in use for the oriental art collection downstairs and the changing “Cell Series” exhibits upstairs, the facility has expanded to more than triple its original size. For meetings or other gatherings, there are two large spaces and a well appointed kitchen.
Flying A Car Club Hometown Classics Car Museum – Few would argue that classic cars are true works of art. Albany is fortunate to have a number of passionate classic car collectors who are happy to share their treasures with all of us. The Flying A Hometown Classics car museum is open from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Saturdays. Cars on exhibit rotate every few months. You will also find classic motorcycles, vintage signage and other automobile memorabilia. Phone Donnie Anderson at 325-338-4072 or Ronnie Anderson at 325-338-1574 for more information.
Aztec Theater – Frank Whitney built the original Aztec Theatre in 1927 as a counterpart to his Ritz Theatre, further south on Main Street. As noted in the Albany News, Jun 24, 1927,
“The new theatre is to be a stucco building of Spanish design…The new show building will feature western pictures and the Ritz will show only the very latest and best pictures on the market.”
Although the Aztec was originally built as a working class theatre, it quickly became a community center. Movies changed as often as four times a week. Young people found employment there; harried mothers found an inexpensive pastime for their children while they shopped downtown; young couples courted there; and adults found a cool place to relax after a hot day’s work.
Over the years the theater fell into disrepair but has been beautifully restored and is now used for musical and theatrical performances. The facility is also used for City Council and other local meetings. It can be rented for your special events as well – think large group meetings, fundraisers and more. The beautiful reception room and patio are perfect for receptions, reunions and business meetings. Contact the City of Albany at 325-762-3133 for scheduling and more information.
Whitney Theater – Website: www.whitneytheater.com
The Whitney Theater was built by the same Frank Whitney who built the Aztec. Originally it was called the Ritz. Today it is used primarily for banquets, weddings, conferences, seminars, reunions, receptions and more. It is a lovely building with a large stage area and an upstairs mezzanine. For additional information or to reserve the Whitney, contact Betsy Black Parsons at 325-762-2547.