Warren OKs Funds for Movie Props Museum, Oakland Theater

WARREN, Ohio – The city’s Board of Control on Wednesday approved a grant of $275,000 in American Rescue Plan funds for a museum that will house props from science fiction movies and television series.

It also approved $63,000 in ARP funds for The Oakland Center for the Arts Kids First Initiative to fund the theater group’s move to the city.

Both measures now await final approval by City Council, according to Valerie Stevenson, executive assistant to Mayor William Franklin.

The movie props were created by Warren native John Zabrucky at his Los Angeles-based company, Modern Props Inc.

The futuristic looking props were used in movies such as “Men in Black,” “Westworld” and “Ghostbusters,” and also the “Star Trek” franchise. Zabrucky recently donated several truckloads of the props to the Trumbull County Historical Society, which is raising funds for a museum that will be located in a Main Avenue building.

The historical society is now attempting to raise $25 million to convert the building into a museum. The project is expected to take several years.

The historical society already is working with Exhibits Concepts, an exhibit design firm, to help curate, fabricate and install the exhibit pieces, according to Meghan Reed, executive director.

The funding for The Oakland Center for the Arts will be used to secure a location in Warren to present plays, said Brendan Byers, executive director of the theater group.

“We are in talks with several potential locations,” Byers said.

The Oakland’s Kids First Initiative provides theater training for youngsters. It is currently located at Trinity Fellowship Church in Boardman, which has a seating capacity of 1,000.

Plans call for adding adult theater productions, Byers said.

The Oakland was formerly located in downtown Youngstown, where it produced plays from 1986 to 2014. It re-emerged as an education-based youth theater in 2015.

Pictured at top: John Zabrucky stands next to one of his movie props at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s annual Salute to Business Breakfast on Aug. 31.

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