To catalyze downtown development, Quinn Evans Architects transformed a vacant auto supply store into a theater.  

Originally built in 1946 as a movie theater, the building is once again a venue for film as well as live music and community theater with 180 seats. Through a dramatic renovation, the small building was expanded with a three-story addition housing a café, commercial office space, and back-of-house support. A contemporary marquee developed in collaboration with a team of artists provides The Cary with a vibrant street presence that is now cornerstone of the community. 


  • Adaptive use of retail to community theater
  • 5,000 sf renovation; 10,500 sf addition
  • Building designed originally in 1946 as a 180-seat movie theater
© Sterling Stevens Photography© Sterling Stevens Photography© Sterling Stevens Photography© Sterling Stevens Photography© Sterling Stevens Photography

Placemaking in the Community

The new municipally-owned arts venue that anchors East Chatham Street boasts a dynamic marquee that was developed as a public art project in collaboration with artists Lynn Basa and Matt McConnell. Quinn Evans Architects integrated the marquee into the renovation and expansion designs. The marquee serves as a focal point for the block, making The Cary a visible symbol for the community.

Drawing on our Repertoire

Quinn Evans Architects drew on its experience with large professional venue designs in the development of this small community theater. The solutions are intricately detailed and technical systems provide the highest quality theatrical lighting and audio-visual systems, which serve the requirements for live performance and film.

© Sterling Stevens Photography

© Sterling Stevens Photography