GOSHEN If you’re a fan of independent films, cult classics or simply enjoy the intimacy of a small movie theater, you may not have to drive an hour or more to find them for much longer.
That’s because Art House, formerly known as New World Arts, has begun the process of transforming the upstairs of their building into just that — an independent film theater.
Work began Saturday with a volunteer cleanup day to begin preparing for the theater that will be located on the second floor of the Art House building at 211 S. Main St.
Artistic Director Adrianne Nesbitt said the idea of an indie film theater in Goshen had been discussed for some time among people who love indie films but don’t necessarily love making the trek to Chicago, Indianapolis or Three Oaks, Mich. frequently to see them.
“We kind of realized that we had this space,” Nesbitt said, “so we decided to use it consistently with what we’ve already got going on here.”
Nesbitt added that the film theater was simply “the next element” in a growing downtown district that is welcoming to the arts.
As part of the creation of the independent film theater, New World Arts thought it logical to change the name of the organization.
Nesbitt said the name change is currently in process in order to provide a more inclusive name that serves as an umbrella for all the organization’s programs, including the film and live performance theater and dance and artists’ studios.
Nesbitt said Art House hopes to house a 70- to 80-seat theater which will feature nightly showings of quality films, whether they are new, old, independent or local films or cult classics.
There will also likely be weekend and late-night screenings offered as well.
“It’s going to be intimate,” Nesbitt explained.
Beyond movies, other possibilities for screenings could include everything from TV finales to live events, such as World Cup matches or royal births.
Nesbitt said there will be a good variety no matter what, either at the suggestion of Art House staff or from the community.
A main feature of the theater will be crowdsourced programming, as Art House will accept nominations for shows on their Facebook page and will then hold votes.
“We’re really wanting to show what people want to see,” Nesbitt explained. “We’ll try to find a balance to make this a true community project.”
To provide an exceptional theater experience, Art House staff plan to install state-of-the-art digital equipment.
They’ve already secured a $15,000 matching grant from the Elkhart County Community Foundation to help with building the theater, so now they must raise the other $15,000 required for equipment.
To accomplish that task, Art House has begun a Kickstarter campaign, soliciting donations from the community in an effort to reach their goal.
The Kickstarter campaign runs through Oct. 1 and those wishing to make a donation may do so by visiting kickstarter.com and searching for Goshen Art House.
At this point, Nesbitt said the cost to take in a show is unknown. Much of a screening’s cost will depend on each production company’s rates, but added they’ll “try to keep prices reasonable.”
The Art House film theater will also offer local snacks and drinks that patrons can enjoy while in the theater.
Though not all the permanent equipment will be available and installed by October, Nesbitt said people can begin checking out films at the Art House as soon as Oct. 1.
For more information on the Art House, visit gah.mobi, or on Facebook at facebook.com/GoshenArtHouse.