We Need Your Help!!!
The historic Towne Cinema has been operating on Main Street in downtown Vernon, British Columbia, Canada since 1929. Originally a dance hall, it converted to a Motion Picture Cinema in 1938 just in time to let Vernonites enjoy the golden age of cinema!
We are now facing the prospect of losing this historic venue and an important economic anchor for the downtown core. Many of our residents have fond memories of this theatre going back more than 90 years as it has been a mainstay of our downtown core. We want to make sure that future generations can share those memories to connect our past and future.
Where We Are Now
The current owner is now looking to take down his shingle and retire after many decades in the theatre business. He has offered to hand over the keys of the theatre to us at the non-profit Okanagan Screen Arts Society, and donate the equipment for us to run it. He has a strong desire to see the venue remain a vibrant community-run arts and entertainment amenity and has been working hard even during this shutdown to make it better. We have been using the time to install some new seating that had been acquired from another theatre that closed down. In the process he gave away the old theatre seats from the 1940's and 1980's, many of you came down to get a piece of the history and shared your stories and memories of growing up going to this amazing venue. It became really clear what a valued and important piece of Vernon history it is, but we don't want to save it just because of its long history... we want to save it because of the potential future it can have making new memories for current and future residents!
In order for the Okanagan Screen Arts Society to be able to take advantage of this remarkable one-time opportunity to save the theatre, we need your help and support! The Society is entirely volunteer run and operated, and has been hosting successful weekly Arts events for several years, bringing approximately 11,000 audience members to enjoy the downtown core each year.
How You Can Help!
This is where you come in! Through this crowdfunding campaign as well as other corporate and private donations and sponsorships we are hoping to raise at least $75,000 from the community between individual donations and corporate sponsorships. We have raised significant funds within the organization and from public grants, but there are some large renovations/upgrades we will be looking to make to the venue.
What The Money Will Be Used For
To keep providing these Arts opportunities and to expand on them, we need to fundraise to cover some needed upgrades such as:
- Renovating the Bathrooms to modern standards with accessible stalls.
- Making the venue accessible for those with mobility challenges by adding a ramp, and power doors.
- Rebuilding the original stage to allow for small live performances
- Start Up/Transition Costs
Single screen, historic movie palaces like this have largely closed down across Canada and the U.S. Nearby towns of Kelowna and Penticton saw their historic theatres shuttered in recent years. We want to keep this amazing piece of history and great arts venue alive in downtown Vernon. We are happy to volunteer our time as a Society to provide you with an amazing slate of live and screen entertainment options.
Please consider helping out in any way you can, through donations and by sharing this and spreading the word through your networks. If you are a business willing to provide some matching funds for donations OR if you are a construction/renovation company with experience in commercial renovations that would be willing to help with the needed bathroom/lobby renovations please contact us at the email below!
In the coming weeks we will add more information and make different individual and corporate sponsorship benefits available. If you donate through this crowdfunding campaign now, you will still be eligible for any "perks" that may come out at a later time through our sponsorship page, so don't wait!
If you would like any more detailed information, please contact us at our Okanagan Screen Arts Society website
The Okanagan Screen Arts Society
- Rae Jensen
- Sharon Durant
- Marian and Ed Wilson
- Trevor Stevens
Organizer and beneficiary
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