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ROBERT STRADA:  Stepping Back - Going Forward

A commission from Princeton University in 2000 became a turning point in Robert Strada’s career.  He was invited to design the restoration of a university-owned building, the Garden Theater, built in 1935 - once the home of vaudeville extravaganzas, located adjacent to the campus on Nassau Street, one of the main thoroughfares of Princeton, New Jersey.  Although it was certainly not Strada’s first entre into the restoration and renovation fields, having renovated a 1847 townhouse in Greenwich Village seven years earlier, the Princeton project presented a time for reflection on many levels.

He decided to work alone on the Garden Theater project - something he had not done since his Broadway Alley days - and focus on work that had real meaning for him:  historic restoration.

The influence of the Garden Theater project helped him decide to scale down his career and follow his passion.  This epiphany, combined with a deeply personal experience in Lower Manhattan on September 11th, 2001, channeled his focus on projects that were much less corporate and much more artistic.  Consequently, he ended his involvement with the large design firm he had founded.

These decisions led to the creation of the lecture series, “The Artist as a Working Man,” that he presented at Princeton University for three semesters.  This series focused on Strada’s core belief that creativity at every level requires courage.  At each lecture he pointed out that “The root of the word courage is the French word “cour,” or heart.  If you don’t feel it in your heart then your vision cannot be authentically creative.”                                                                                                                                                                      


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