Family: Wife, Casey; sons, William and Teddy
City of residence: Marietta
Volunteer work: Chairman’s Club, Cobb Chamber; Vice Chair, Marietta Arts Council; Former Board Member, Kiwanis Club of Marietta; Board Member, Marietta Welcome Center; Board Member, The Walker School Patrons of The Arts; Board Member, Marietta International Film Festival; Member, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Audience Building Roundtable; Member, Cobb NAACP; Member, Georgia Arts Network; Member, Georgia Presenters; Member, Leadership Cobb 2020; Alumni Member, Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta 2019; School Governance Team + K Kids Advisor + Head of Drama Club, West Side Elementary;
Awards and honors: NAACP Oscar R Freeman Community Achievement Award in 2018, Outstanding Kiwanian numerous times in the past few years
Although he now manages the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square, Andy Gaines’ attire at the historic theater hasn’t always been a suit and tie.
“I cringe when I remember my days there when it was a rock and roll punk club,” he said, with a laugh.
But while there were some good memories made there, the Strand’s 37-year-old general manager is ecstatically happy that his beloved theater has since returned to its classic roots.
“As the last remaining historic theater in Cobb County, the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre lights up the Marietta Square and provides a venue for films, concerts, musicals, dramatic plays, comedy, special events, educational programming and community gatherings,” he said. “The Strand fills a critical niche in the local cultural landscape by hosting a wide variety of art forms and community gatherings, and by providing a historic home for arts lovers to come together as a community.” he said.
Gaines, who now lives in Marietta, said the 84-year-old historic theater is a source of nostalgia for many.
“Visiting the Strand is like stepping back in time to glimpse a bygone era. I grew up in south Cobb and would come to the Strand for school events and concerts, so this job is truly a dream come true,” he said.
Gaines received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Georgia in 2005 and immediately hit the road managing large-scale events. He was pulled back into the entertainment industry in 2008 when Tyler Perry Studios opened for production. He worked on several Atlanta productions, such as “Due Date,” “Fast Five” and “Detroit 187” for ABC, before moving to Los Angeles to continue working in the field.
After working on such productions as “Neighbors,” “Revenge” on ABC and “The Wedding Ringer,” he moved with his wife, Casey, back to Cobb County in 2014. They now have two young boys and live in Marietta.
He is actively involved with the Kiwanis Club of Marietta, serving on the Board of Directors and as K Kids Club adviser to West Side Elementary. He also serves on the board of directors for the Marietta Arts Council, Marietta Welcome Center, Cobb International Film Festival, and serves on the student governance team at West Side Elementary.
He is eager and thrilled to help support diversity in the arts, and to help mold the next generation of leaders in the community.
“The best thing about working in the theater is that no two days are the same,” Gaines said. “It’s controlled chaos and it’s all over the place. There’s a lot of people who work 9-5 every day and they go to their job, and maybe they go out to experience entertainment. I wake up every day and I get to go to a playground. I make castles out of sand. I get to create something and make sure the show goes on. I get paid to give people moments of happiness, reflection or inspiration. I help create experiences, and I love it.”