WARREN, Pa. – A theater is a place, maybe a beautiful place. But, without the people, that’s it.
A few years ago, the Struthers Library Theater entered into a fundraising campaign that downgraded the physical structure.
During this process, Juliet Mason Hornburg made a generous donation.
“Juliet responded early in our 2015 fundraising campaign,” said retired CEO Marcy O’Brien. âWe made a substantial request. She said, ‘I have more in mind.’ It never happens.
“She waved her hand with such grace and helped us close the campaign”, said Executive Director Wendy McCain.
While she could have imagined her money as a new curtain for the stage, new seats for clients, or any other major improvement that people would see and appreciate, Hornburg saw it elsewhere. “I always thought about it in the roof” she said. “Without the roof, you have nothing.”
Hornburg made another major contribution to the 138-year-old theater.
This time, she invested in another necessity: people.
“The volunteers are great and you will always need them” Hornburg said.
She knows there is work to be done that is neither exciting nor glamorous. She is one of those volunteers. “Juliette was a member of the Friends of the Library Theater”, McCain said. âEvery year, Juliette came to fill envelopes.
But this donation is intended to help those who devote so much time and energy to making theater a vibrant and thriving part of the community. “I know people very well” Hornburg said. âThey should really have decent salaries and benefits. There is no reason not to.
On behalf of herself and her late husband, Walter, Hornburg did what McCain called a “giant gift” this âHelps us support each other for another 138 years. “
The fundamental gift will be at the heart of an endowment, according to Secretary of the Trustees Bob Crowley.
“She truly believes in the importance of our theater and its continued place in our community”, O’Brien said.
The Struthers Library Theater held a special place for Hornburg.
“I got stuck with this,” she said. âI was so impressed. A town the size of Warrenâ¦ I don’t think they know what they have here.
In addition to offering better salaries and benefits to theater staff, Hornburg made a suggestion.
When the theater was named Outstanding Theater 2018 by the League of Historic American Theaters, a statue was partially recognized.
Hornburg said she would like this statue to have a lasting place of honor in the theater.
The statue was brought to the Hornburg table moments later.
Theater officials honored Hornburg and his family on Wednesday. Hornburg’s sons Nathan and Barry Mason, stepdaughters Camy and Ann Mason and granddaughter Britni Brundidge were in attendance.
In addition to touring the facilities and thanking board members and staff, dance-loving Hornburg was treated to a surprise performance.
Senior students from Molly Dies School of Dance performed three pieces.
Hornburg was literally on the edge of his seat for most of the performance and gave the dancers a standing ovation.
âAt one point in the life of this theater, a short distance away, a young girl from Olean, New York, fell in love with the arts through dance. said Board Chair Susan Stout. “I saw this young girl tonight, perched on the edge of her seat.”
âJuliet Mason Hornburg, thank you for choosing the Struthers Library Theater as a way to connect your passion and vision to this common thread – to the timeless impetus of human expression through the arts. said Stout. âWe thank you for your special recognition that the support of our staff is essential to how we support the arts in Warren County and beyond. Thank you for your generosity in ensuring that the Struthers Library Theater will continue to expose new generations to the arts and the many ways in which they enrich the human experience.
“Thank you all very much for tonight” Hornburg said. âI believe in what you do. Thank you all for continuing.