The historic Rialto Theatre has stood on this site, in what was once Atlanta’s Theatre District, for over a hundred years. When it opened in 1916 it was the largest movie house in the Southeast with seating for almost a thousand movie goers and at one time the building boasted the largest lighted sign south of New York City. The theatre has undergone many changes in that time, including being torn down and rebuilt in 1962. The theatre is now a part of Georgia State University and hosts University performances, educational outreach programs, community partner events and is available as a rental venue. Since being renovated by GSU the Rialto has had over 600,000 patrons pass through its doors.
For the recent marquis renovation Georgia State wanted to take advantage of the latest digital technology but also capture the look and feel of an art-deco-period theatre. They chose Henry Incorporated to make that happen. The new marquis features internally-lighted letters, neon strip-lighting, backlit routed-aluminum GSU logos as well as electronic panels to display upcoming events and advertising messages. All this is housed in a sculpted aluminum canopy that wraps the building corner over the main entrances. The final product evokes the period feel appropriate to this historic building as well as a clean updated image that reflects the artistic aspirations of the theatre itself.