A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene

Building the greatest small city for the arts in America.


Progress towards our $6.5M Goal

75% with confirmed pledges, grants and anticipated tax credits.

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April 2019
August 2019
September 2019
February 2020
March 2020
May 2020
September 2020

April 2019

Campaign Launch

Strengthen Grow Evolve is announced to the public at a celebratory event linking the historic Englert stage with FilmScene’s new theaters at The Chauncey. Over 500 people were in attendance to hear our dreams of Building the Greatest Small City for the Arts.

August 2019

50% Funded

Campaign reaches 50% funding as the State of Iowa commits to Community Attraction and Tourism Grants for both FilmScene and The Englert Theatre. These grants, administered by Iowa Economic Development and Enhance Iowa, provide funds to assist projects that help communities create transformational projects that enhance the vitality of a region and the state overall.

September 2019

FilmScene at The Chauncey Opens

A major element of our Grow initiative, FilmScene at The Chauncey opens with a three day celebration including a donor lighting ceremony, the first public screening of Downtown Abbey, and a community wide open house in partnership with more than a dozen local arts organizations.

February 2020

$4.5 Million Raised

Thanks to over 1000 donors, the campaign is more than 2/3rds funded. These committed pledges ensure that most of the major facilities work for FilmScene and The Englert Theatre will proceed as planned. Additional funding is still needed to achieve all of the campaign’s goals.

March 2020

Iowa City Downtown Arts Alliance Forms

Aligning with one of the key goals of the Evolve initiative, a consortium of eight nonprofit arts organizations in downtown Iowa City come together to form the Iowa City Downtown Arts Alliance and speak with a unified voice regarding the importance of the arts to a vibrant community.

May 2020

Englert Renovations Begin

The Englert Theatre, Iowa City’s century-old performing arts venue, begins work to preserve and modernize this historic space. As the pillar of our Strengthen initiative, work includes interior and exterior structural improvements, improved lighting and sound, a renovation of the second floor parlor, and restoration of the iconic Englert marquee.

September 2020

Festival Future

FilmScene launches the inaugural year of its Refocus Film Festival, a celebration of cinema in the city of literature. In addition, music and literature mainstay Mission Creek Festival, produces a special edition of its festival rescheduled because of COVID-19. In line with our Grow initiative, these festivals will continue to nurture community building through the arts.

Funding Level Required

Completed Funding secured Ensured at $5.5 million Ensured at $6.5 million

Campaign Initiative #1


Our reputation for excellence is built on diverse and distinguished art, dedicated patronage, and a rewarding audience experience.

Beautiful spaces play an equally important role, and our century-old buildings require regular upkeep and renovation to keep our artists and patrons happy.

Sustaining our Historic Spaces

We will strengthen FilmScene’s flagship Ped Mall location and modernize the historic Englert Theatre, sustaining our venues, improving audience experience and accessibility, and enhancing lighting, sound, and stage production to deliver that all important nightly, “wow.”

FilmScene Ped Mall Cinema Revitalization

FilmScene’s original home will be updated with:
  New comfort seating in The Screening Room  New cinema-style seating in Scene 1  Lobby improvements  Maintaining modern presentation standards

Englert Historic Preservation & Modernization

These investments will ensure the long-term health of the 108-year-old Englert Theatre, an architectural gem whose lights are a beacon in the heart of downtown Iowa City:
  Iconic marquee rehabilitation  Building facade and brick repair  Window restoration  HVAC renovation  Improved energy efficiency  Roofing membrane  Fire panel replacement  2nd floor renovation and parlor expansion  Audio system upgrade


122,000 patrons

served annually by FilmScene and the Englert in 2018, 44% through free and subsidized ticket programs and community partnerships.


Campaign Initiative #2


With your help so far, we’ve built a brand new, world-class arts facility for the next generation to elevate the presentation of film to another level.

To fill our remarkable spaces, some of our richest and most prominent programming is found in our festivals, which we intend to nurture and expand.

FilmScene at Chauncey

A new state-of-the-art three-screen facility at The Chauncey—in the heart of downtown—has become FilmScene’s landmark home.
  Three new cinemas, seating over 225 moviegoers  Flexible space for educational programming  Programming expansion through increased showtimes, community partnerships, and films  Cutting-edge picture and sound  35mm and 16mm film presentation   Enhanced comfort and expanded food & drink

Additional funding will be put towards ownership of the facility by FilmScene to ensure organizational stability and secure the future of film as an art form in Iowa City.

Festival Investments

  With expanded cinema facilities, we will launch Refocus Film Festival in the fall of 2020. Pushing boundaries in multidiscplinary film exhibition and presenting films inspired by and adapted from other art forms, especially text, Refocus will be a unique film event for our City of Literature.  Continued nurturing of the Englert’s two annual festivals: the literature and music mainstay Mission Creek Festival and Witching Hour, which explores the creative process.


$4.03 Million

Estimated annual impact of our arts programming on the ICR region.*
*Americans for the Arts and Art House Convergence economic impact studies


Campaign Initiative #3


Our campaign is only worth pursuing if we truly feel there is an opportunity to improve access and engagement with the arts for all people in our community.

Iowa City and the surrounding area have great promise but we must take collaborative action on arts education and engagement to fulfill the promise ahead.

Our Dream

Every student in the Iowa City Community School District will engage a meaningful arts experience before graduation.

Arts Access Initiative

Our organizations have received support to research and improve arts access and engagement for school districts and communities throughout Johnson County.

We seek to further this work with an arts education effort collaboration. Together, we will hire a Community Engagement Director, dedicated to fostering deeper artistic connections with our local K-12 schools, universities and colleges, neighborhoods, and the diverse cultures of our community and to expanding year-round arts education workshops and artist visits to our schools.

Allied Arts Initiative

The Englert and FilmScene will deepen important partnerships with the Bijou Film Board, SCOPE Productions, and other University of Iowa organizations.

We will expand our collaborative efforts, using this campaign as a case study, to work with a collective of local cultural nonprofits to share ideas and best practices, work together, and envision a collective future for our entire region, starting here in Iowa City.


100+ partnerships

with community and University organizations annually, deepening engagement and creating conversation through art.



This campaign will only succeed with the help of passionate volunteers.


Our Response to COVID-19

Our organizations are taking actions to ensure the safety and health of our patrons and staff. Read statements from FilmScene and the Englert. The challenges of this moment have strengthened our resolve to secure our future through this campaign.


Donor Tiers

Every dollar matters

You can make a one-time contribution or a five-year pledge quickly and easily online right now.

Donations by check can be made out to “Strengthen Grow Evolve” and mailed c/o The Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA 52240.


Your contribution will help us reach our ambitious goal. Thank you!

Name a seat

Leave a lasting legacy by naming a seat at FilmScene! Our new modern seating will be carefully selected for comfort, attractiveness and durability.

We are offering our community an opportunity to sponsor a seat at multiple levels that are meaningful and significant. Seat naming is available through a five-year pledge agreement, and your named seat will far outlive that commitment.

Name A Seat

Thank you for supporting our campaign with a lasting commitment.

Named & Creative Giving

Legacy naming opportunities are available for major giving, including theater and room naming options. To discuss these exciting options, or for creative giving options including stock transfers, multi-year pledges, or to pledge by phone, please contact Katie Roche by phone at 319-688-2653 x107, or by email at


Staff Leadership

Andre Perry
Englert Executive Dir.
Katie Roche
Englert Development Dir.
Andrew Sherburne
FilmScene Interim Executive Dir.
Nina Lohman
Assoc. Development Dir.
Nolan Petersen
Development Associate
Mac Chuchra
Development Assistant
Claire Barrett
Marketing Coordinator
Stacia Rain
Design Coordinator

Campaign Co-Chairs

Dick & Joyce Summerwill (Honorary)
Wally & Karen Chappell (Honorary)
Amanda West
Nina Lohman

FilmScene Board of Directors

Hans House, Chair
Will Downing, Vice Chair
Jake Nelson, Secretary
Chris Ameling, Treasurer
Emma Barnum
Molly Bagnall
Danica Bird
Karen Chappell, Past Chair
Corey Creekmur
Evan Evans
Sal Goedken
David Gould
Tommy Haines
Adam Ingersoll
Uri Lessing
Nina Lohman
T.J. Dedeaux-Norris
Kembrew McLeod
Ryan O’Leary
Andre Perry
Sarah Russett
Anna Stone
Steven Ungar
Nick Westergaard
Lynn Weinstein

Englert Board of Directors

Andy Martin, President
Carl Brown, Vice President
Todd Fanning, Treasurer
Nick Bergus, Secretary
Amy Hospodarsky, Past President
JB Barnhouse
Rob Decker
Todd Fanning
Brad Johnson
Tim McDougall
Joe Moreland
Jessie Singerman
Elliott Sohn
Jason Wagner