Center for Creativity at Rialto Theatre

250 E. Broad Street,
Westfield, NJ 07090

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ridethectrain on October 26, 2021 at 8:26 am

From the Center For Creativity at the Rialto Website:

Center for Creativity at the Rialto to Launch in Partnership with the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation

A newly-formed New Jersey non-profit organization, the Westfield Arts Collective, announced today that it has signed an agreement to purchase the Rialto building in downtown Westfield.

The announcement comes ahead of the closing weekend of Complements, an art exhibit being presented in the newly renovated lobby of the Rialto. The exhibit features original Charles Addams art alongside art from multimedia artist Suzanne Heilmann.

“We are excited that so many people have stopped by the Rialto to see the exhibit, with many expressing interest in the building’s future,” said Beth Cassie, President of the Westfield Arts Collective. “We are proud to announce the Center for Creativity at the Rialto, a community gathering space for creating, experiencing, and enjoying art in many forms. Our vision is to build a creative hub in downtown Westfield where makers, artists, actors, writers, and musicians of all ages and experience can connect, create, learn, and build community. Westfield is a town of artists, and preserving the iconic Rialto is the best way to ensure that the arts have a permanent place to thrive in our community.”

The Tee and Charles Addams Foundation ( has generously provided initial seed capital for this effort and has committed to underwriting future art endeavors, with the intention of eventually endowing the Center with Addams works and funding in perpetuity.

“It has brought the Foundation such joy to witness how this community has embraced AddamsFest, annually celebrating the life and work of Charles Addams including not only the iconic and timeless Addams Family, but also his classic work as an artist, New Yorker cartoonist, and as a fixture in the prominent New York social circles of the 1960’s,” said Kevin Miserocchi, Executive Director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. “We’re thrilled that Charlie will return to the hometown that inspired his work and that his legacy will live on through the many artists that will benefit from the Center for Creativity at the Rialto.”

“We are also thankful to the current owners of the building, Jesse and Doreen Sayegh, who have been true partners in the negotiation of this purchase,” added Cassie. “None of this would have been possible without their generosity and shared vision to retain this historic building and keep the arts alive in Westfield.”

The initial phase of the project includes renovating the lobby and restoring one large theater. The lobby will host small gatherings, including author and poetry readings. Once restored, the main floor theater will be made available for film screenings, live performances, and other programs and presentations.

Subsequent phases will include planning for the additional five theaters and office space and will involve gathering public input.

“There is still much work to be done, but we’re thrilled to have started with the lobby, which will remain available as a rotating gallery,” said Westfield Arts Collective board member Margaret Smith. “We’ll begin rolling out our vision for a re-imagined Rialto over the next few months, and we are excited to invite the Westfield community to learn more and get involved.”

John Rzeznik, Westfield resident and guitarist and frontman of the Goo Goo Dolls, announced his support for the project.

“As a Westfield local, it is an honor to be working with my fellow residents to bring a permanent home for the arts to Westfield,” said Rzeznik. “I have offered my name and platform to raise money for this very cool project and hope others will do the same.”

“I congratulate the Westfield Arts Collective on this historic accomplishment and thank the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation and current Rialto owner Jesse Sayegh for being strong community partners in this bold and imaginative effort,” said Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle. “This effort brings us a giant step closer to our goal of making Westfield a regional destination for arts and culture.”

“The vision for AddamsFest, which included annual exhibits of Charles Addams work, was to honor a local celebrity and infuse the arts into Westfield’s culture,” said Westfield Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, Chairperson of AddamsFest. “I’m so happy that AddamsFest could be the catalyst for the relationship with the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation which ultimately led to this project.”

The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting for the Center for Creativity at the Rialto on Thursday, October 28, at 5:00 pm.

moviebuff82 on October 26, 2021 at 2:30 am

Rialto will reopen as a non profit.

RkoRoxy on September 7, 2021 at 7:53 pm

Just added 3 news articles about 1931 fire that destroyed the theatre. I always heard about it, but didn’t realize it was that bad. It took 6 months to rebuild from May 22 to Nov 12, 1931!

Guodone on September 24, 2020 at 11:09 am

The Rialto was in the next town over from where I lived. Saw many films there, The Sting, Earthquake, American Graffiti, Rollercoaster, Smokey and the Bandit and of course the big one, Jaws. Very nice old style theater with a balcony. The box office had a small cabinet where reserve tickets were stored when the reserve seat policy was in place, probably in the 30’s and 40’s. It wasn’t the same after they split it into a multiplex.

markp on September 6, 2019 at 9:38 am

Well that didn’t take long. The theatre in Cranford that New Vision was leasing closed on Wed the 4th. Same issue as this theatre.

walterk on August 28, 2019 at 9:09 am

A local article on the closing, which cites CT for historic information used, can be read here.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on August 23, 2019 at 4:54 pm

August 22, 2019 was its final day of operation.

EsseXploreR on August 23, 2019 at 4:51 pm

This theater has been closed.

50sSNIPES on May 23, 2019 at 9:57 am

Actually, United Artists Purchased The Rialto Way Before 1997. It Has To Be Like Between 1966 And 1967. According To A Video Called “Hey Folks, Its Intermission Time Vol. 4” One Of The Snipes Said “Season’s Greetings From UA Rialto Theatre,” And The Snipes Are Located Also In Westfield.

jeffpiatt on February 5, 2018 at 1:46 am

New vision currently has this theater branded as the “New Vision Theatres Rialto Theatre”

FrankieattheMovies on August 28, 2017 at 9:59 am

Been going here since i was a kid a nice theater saw lots of movies. I remember it was a 3 screen theater in the 90’s till early 1998 when it became a 6 screen theater. anyone have pics of rialto when it just had 3 screens? Still been going here has of right now they just were taken over by New Vision Theaters during this year

The_Batman_Professor on June 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Remember seeing remake of THE BLOB on balcony screen. That was a very weird setup.

jeffpiatt on April 14, 2017 at 9:19 pm

This Location is listed as New Vision Theaters Headquarters according to there site.

crazyformovies on January 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

good theater saw alot of movies there i wish someone had a picture when they had only 3 theaters before having 6 in 1998

walterk on October 24, 2016 at 10:01 am

I’ve just uploaded the gala opening ad from the 08-30-1922 edition of the Westfield Leader.

rivest266 on October 23, 2016 at 10:34 am

3 screens on May 26th, 1978. no ad found.

markp on March 5, 2016 at 5:43 am

Since AMC just purchased Carmike (this is currently a Carmike Theatre) I can see this place closing once AMC assumes control.

ALLANF on January 24, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I can remember seeing Jaws and Rollercoaster(in Sensurround) here

Cinemasavvy on July 16, 2012 at 7:42 am

All screens digital as of 2012.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 20, 2011 at 6:46 am

Now owned by the Digiplex Destinations chain.

joker on June 8, 2010 at 11:45 am

i like this theater got to see alot of movies there.

teecee on May 10, 2009 at 6:58 am

Here is the article regarding renovation.
wow $13 ticket price – I guess the patrons have to finance this!

View link

moviebuff82 on March 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Just in time for Monsters vs Aliens 3D.