The answers below address commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions, we want to hear from you here to discuss more about building the Greatest Small City for the Arts.
How did you settle on a $6.5 Million goal?
After an extensive feasibility effort and evaluation of a wide range of goals, our organizations determined the essential efforts required for the long-term health of our facilities and programming. The total goal reflects the combined need for these multi-million dollar improvements to our modern and historic venues as well funding for our priority programmatic initiatives.
How will the outdoor screening work? Who picks the films? Who can use it?
The new Chauncey Swan Park is designed as a grass amphitheatre, ideal for outdoor screenings and other public events. FilmScene intends to work with community partners to regularly program that space.
What will FilmScene do with its current Ped Mall venue?
FilmScene intends to keep its Scene 1 Ped Mall venue open as a full-time cinema.
How is the money from City of Iowa City being invested?
The City of Iowa City has committed a $1 Million gift that prioritizes preservation and modernization of the historic 1912 Englert Theatre and FilmScene’s ped mall space in its 1860s-era building.
I’m interested in getting involved. What are the volunteer opportunities?
This campaign is a true community effort. We are looking for volunteer advocates and assistance to support the campaign. Please visit www.strengthengrowevolve.org/get-involved to express interest.
When will work begin on the Englert and how long will the theatre be closed?
The current plan is for The Englert Theatre will begin improvements in late-summer/early-fall 2019. The theater plans to stay open during these 2019 renovations. Further preservation and improvements will likely happen in summer 2020 and might require for operations to temporarily cease.
Why are you only raising money for the Englert and FilmScene?
This cooperative campaign is the result of multiple years of conversations between FilmScene, The Englert Theatre and other area arts stakeholders, which indicated that the timing and resource support for this campaign were favorable for a campaign supporting these two organizations.
What are the plans for fixing The Englert’s marquee?
The Englert Marquee is an iconic symbol of downtown Iowa City arts. We are exploring a range of options for marquee maintenance and repair to be executed at a level in accordance with the funds available.
If we give money to the campaign, does that grant us membership benefits at either organization?
Campaign contributions are distinct from membership or annual support for our organizations. Ongoing funding and capital improvements are budgeted separately and funding goals reflect these separate needs.
Does my donation receive public recognition?
Donors over $120 will be recognized on screen or in print during opening season activities at both FilmScene and The Englert. Seat naming opportunities begin at $2500 and wall recognition begins at $10,000.
What are you actually strengthening, growing, or evolving?
Our primary goals are to: strengthen our current venues with historic restoration and preservation, grow a modern cinema state-of-the-art for FilmScene and expand the festival programming of both organizations, and evolve our education, outreach and access initiatives, including an invitation to the broader community of arts organizations to continue Building the Greatest Small City for the Arts. Additional details are available at www.strengthengrowevolve.org.
Why does FilmScene need a new facility?
FilmScene has been developing plans for a purpose-built cinema for over seven years to provide increased capacity and state-of-the-art presentation to ensure long-term stability and elevate cinema as an art form.
Will FilmScene be getting better seats?
Yes! FilmScene will install new, modern cinema rockers and other comfortable, eclectic seating options in both The Chauncey facility and the current Ped Mall location.
Does this mean the Englert will be getting bigger acts?
With improved sound, lights and production elements for artists, the Englert will have the opportunity to host the highest quality acts that are appropriate for our size of venue (730 seats) across a range of genres and styles.
When will you hire a Community Engagement Director?
Our goal is to hire a Community Engagement Director in the first or second quarter of 2020. The ability to execute this timeline will be tied to our fundraising progress. It is our sense that at 4.3M of fully committed funds, we will be able to move forward with this position.
Englert and FilmScene are working together. Does this mean that you are you merging?
While this campaign aligns organizational goals into a broader vision for our greater arts community, the plan does not include the merging of FilmScene and the Englert Theatre.
How are the donations being split—where is my gift going?
All gifts are being split by the organizations 50/50, unless a specific directive is given by the donor.
What happens if you don’t raise the full goal amount?
These funding priorities are essential to the long-term health of our organizations. This fundraising effort will continue to seek funding from donors, and explore financing alternatives, to meet our goal.
This looks like a lot of money for facilities? How does that make the programming better?
Healthy arts organizations require modern facilities and ownership of their spaces. This allows us to focus more resources, human and financial, to the programming work we do every day. Investing in our venues is also the essential first step towards putting on a better show, with world-class lighting and sound at the Englert and state-of-the-art picture and sound at FilmScene. Audience experience is paramount, and our goal is to always deliver that “wow.”
What does it mean to be a better allied arts community? What kind of investment are you making in collaboration?
Collaboration includes ongoing conversations inviting broader idea sharing from the entire cultural community. We also intend to devote $250,000 into educational outreach efforts with a priority of hiring of a full-time shared community engagement director dedicated to fostering deeper artistic connections with our schools, neighborhoods, and the diverse cultures of our community. We have had deep conversations with the ICCSD regarding our dream of all 14,000 students engaging with the arts within our facilities—both FilmScene and The Englert Theatre. And we will continue to nurture and expand the collaborative efforts of Mission Creek Festival, Witching Hour and a new Refocus Film Festival, which devote considerable resources towards collaborative programming.