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Evanston gets $50,000 grant for performing arts, community center

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the City of Evanston a grant of $50,000 for an architectural study and financial plan for a downtown performing arts and community center.

The study will examine development of the Second Baptist Church, 1717 Benson Ave., and the Varsity Theater, a former 2,500-seat movie palace from the 1920s located at 1710 Sherman St.

Though the Varsity has housed retail stores for many years, much of its exterior is said to have remained intact, including the theater’s facade and high-pitched roofline.

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