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Veterans Memorial Auditorium (Providence)

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Veterans Memorial Auditorium (VMA) is a performing arts theater in Providence, Rhode Island. Construction began in 1928, but was delayed by the Great Depression. The theater was finally completed in 1950. It is among the oldest arts venues in Rhode Island and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was completely restored in 1990. The ornately-designed 1,931-seat concert hall houses the largest theater stage in Rhode Island and is considered[by whom?] to have some of the best acoustics in New England. The performance space features a gilded proscenium arch, allegorical and heraldic ceiling murals. The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra holds several concerts at the VMA each year. In addition, the VMA hosts a broad range of events each season, offering a variety of performances, rehearsals, exhibitions, concerts, educational events, meetings, and other special events. Since 1950, when the theater opened, it had begun to fall into disrepair and in the early 1980s the state of Rhode Island was thinking of closing the auditorium and the adjoining Masonic Temple and reducing the complex to a parking lot. In 1983, the Veterans Memorial Auditorium Preservation Association (VMAPA) was formed to try to save the auditorium. They rallied for five years and in 1988 Governor DiPrete awarded the VMAPA with $5 million for the VMA's renovation. Since that time it has been a center for the arts. The Renaissance Providence Hotel, formerly the Masonic Temple, is located directly adjacent to the VMA.

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