Arts, Music Abound in Anderson, Anchored by Historic Theater

Anderson packs an artistic punch with an out of this world arts scene.

On Friday, April 26, 2019 - 05:57

Art museums, historical sites, a local symphony, festivals, a restored 1929 theater that recreates dusk in 16th-century Spain – Anderson packs a lot of culture into a city of fewer than 60,000 people. The Paramount Centre Theatre & Ballroom is an art deco glory, restored to mint condition with a 6,000-square-foot ballroom that can seat a cozy dinner for 400. It is one of only a dozen so-called atmospheric theaters designed by renowned architect John Eberson remaining in North America. The ceiling fades from the warm colors of sunset to cobalt blue, with twinkling stars.

Home to the Anderson Symphony Orchestra, the Paramount also hosts stage productions, ballet, concerts and conferences, serving as a centerpiece in Anderson’s downtown art revival. The Anderson Museum of Art is downtown, too, housed in a former Carnegie library built in 1905. In addition to its permanent and visiting exhibits, the museum offers programs for seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, lessons for kids after school, and workshops for children. Adults aren’t left out, either, with other classes such as glass fusing, Asian-style ink and brush painting, mixed media, beaded jewelry, digital photography and nesting Shaker boxes. Nearby, Madison County Historical Society has rotating displays, a library and help with family genealogy research.

Another piece of history – the botanical kind – can be seen in the historic gardens at the Gruenewald House on Main Street. The house museum, which dates to 1860, exemplifies Second Empire architecture and is open to visitors from April through December. Anderson’s Mainstage Theatre on West Ninth Street is home to a long-running community theater group, the Madison County Dramatic Players.

And the city has another venue for performing arts at Anderson University, where the Reardon Auditorium brings in spiritual concerts as well as wellness and self-help speakers and programs. Anderson isn’t shy about festivals, either. For example, Mounds State Park celebrates Summer Solstice and Pioneer Harvest festivals, and Shadyside Memorial Gardens showcases free concerts and outdoor movies in the summer.