February 07, 2020

The poetic, the beautiful, the bizarre: Creatives find a home at The Palace Theater

Rose Cox, owner of The Palace Theater, believes in “celebrating your dirt.” To her, that means taking items that you already have laying around, turning them into something new, and just allowing yourself to be creative in your own space.

You can see this approach when you walk in the door of The Palace Theater — a crocodile head greets you at the door, paired with walls full of colorful art that you can’t help but stare at. Walking further into the venue you take a seat on a comfy but oddly-shaped piece of furniture. Rose came to Chattanooga in 2015 as the Chattanooga Film Festival Coordinator. Moving from Portland, Oregon, where the city is full of its own culture, Rose was determined to bring that same feel into Downtown Chattanooga.

“The point of this place is to really pull the culture of Chattanooga out, and put it somewhere,” Rose says.

After opening a small film screening venue in 2017, she rebranded it as The Palace Theater in 2018, adding an art gallery in addition to the movie theater.

However, she quickly realized that movies and gallery could not sustain the business on their own, and to keep her doors open she needed to expand her clientele. With a background in music and theater, she had a passion for the arts and wanted a place where the creative community could thrive and really have their artistic freedom. The Palace now showcases monthly shows like “Chatt Talk Tonight” hosted by Donney Marsh as well as drag shows every Friday night at 11 pm.

Erika Roberts, known as Velvet Poetry, is a spoken word poet in Chattanooga, TN, and a frequent host at The Palace Theater. Hosting events like Poetry After Dark, tutorials on head wrapping, and a guided meditation at midnight, Erika says she appreciates The Palace Theater because her “creativity is not put in jeopardy.” Erika continues to come back because her artistic view is appreciated and celebrated.

With all these amazing events being hosted at The Palace, Rose is determined to get artists paid through her non-profit, Bazar. Bazar is an art gallery that is displayed in The Palace’s “ODD-itorium” that operates under the belief that art should be accessible and affordable to all, so the gallery is filled with art from various price ranges.

As The Palace continues to make its statement in the creative community Rose’s goal in 2020 is to continue to grow. She wants to expand the range of events that are hosted in the space as well as make improvements to the venue to allow more accessibility to the creative community.

“2019 was all about sustainability,” Rose says. “2020 is growth, to actually grow our cast and our staff and all the people involved with making this place tick.”

If you are interested in hosting an event at The Palace Theater you can reach Rose at info@chattpalace.com