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 $6.0 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. An initial $6.5 Million goal was announced at launch reflecting the combined need for these multi-million dollar improvements to our modern and historic venues as well funding for our programmatic initiatives. As a response to a challenging 2020, the campaign has enacted cost-saving measures and realigned priorities to establish a modified goal of $6 million.
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.
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, especially following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This fundraising effort will continue to seek funding from donors, and explore financing alternatives, to meet our revised $6 Million goal. Additional funding details are available at www.strengthengrowevolve.org.
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 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.
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.
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 is the status of funding and hiring the Community Engagement Director?
The Community Engagement Director is a key focal point of the Strengthen Grow Evolve campaign. It exists as a marker of the campaign’s success for two reasons. First, for this position to be funded we must first complete our organization’s immediate capital needs of strengthening our existing spaces & growing into new spaces. Second, The Community Engagement Director personifies our vision for a thriving, connected arts community. Funding and hiring a director for this position signifies that we have created a healthy, sustainable environment for future arts-based collaborations. Once we have reached $5.5 million we will commit to completing the fundraising work necessary to secure this position.
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 significant funding 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.
If we give money to the campaign, does that grant us membership benefits at either organization?
Campaign contributions are separate from membership or annual support for our organizations. Ongoing funding and capital improvements are budgeted separately and funding goals reflect these separate needs. If you would like more info on FilmScene memberships, go to filmscene.org. For information on Englert Friends memberships, go to englert.org/friends.
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. For questions about naming recognition, location, etc., please contact the campaign development office by emailing email@example.com.
Are there still seats available?
Seat naming at the $2,500 and $5,000 has been a popular way to give. Some donors who have named seats have opted to increase their gift to $10,000 or more, relinquishing their seats for recognition on the donor wall. If you are interested in naming a seat, please inquire with Development Director Katie Roche at Katie@englert.org and she can let you know what is available.
Can I increase my pledge to a naming recognition level?
Donors may choose to increase existing gifts to the seat naming pledge at the $2,500 or $5,000 level. Donors below $10,000 may choose to increase their gift for recognition on the donor walls. It is also possible to change out donor recognition on the walls to recognize a larger gift. The walls were designed to be flexible and responsive to donor wishes.
Can I still give at a 5-year rate?
At this final stage of the campaign we will continue to accept gifts as five year pledges, however, due to the indefinite closure of both the Englert and FilmScene due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both organizations are facing budgetary challenges. Whenever possible we ask you to consider making shorter term and/or one time gifts that will help our organizations navigate immediate challenges.
Are there corporate naming opportunities available?
Special naming opportunities exist for businesses and corporations. We invite the support of our business community and thank you for your recognition of the role that arts and culture play in attracting new businesses and employees to our community. Please direct any questions to Katie@englert.org.
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.
How will the outdoor screening work? Who picks the films? Who can use it?
The new Chauncey Swan Park is designed as a grass amphitheater, ideal for outdoor screenings and other public events. FilmScene intends to work with community partners to regularly program that space. The outdoor screening setup will be possible if the campaign reaches $6 Million.
When will work begin on the Englert and how long will the theatre be closed?
The Englert Theatre began improvements in early-summer 2020. The Preservation and improvements will continue throughout the fall as operations are halted in the building.
Does this mean the Englert will be getting bigger acts?
With improved sound 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. For us to achieve the goal of funding a new audio system for the Englert, we need to reach the $6.5 million goal.
What are the plans for fixing The Englert’s marquee?
The Englert Marquee is an iconic symbol of downtown Iowa City arts and thanks to donations from the City of Iowa City, and many others, we are fully renovating and restoring the marquee to its fully lit glory.