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Olympic Theatre continues to need community support
ARLINGTON — The “Save the Olympic Theatre” campaign is considering changing its name to “Support the Olympic Theatre,” because the historic movie theater in downtown Arlington actually has a viable path to surviving in the era of digital film, but the community members who have been active in raising funds for the local landmark’s technological transition don’t want their fellow Arlingtonians to think that the job is done.
“I’ve heard from folks out in town that the new projector is already here,” said Norma Pappas, owner and operator of the Olympic Theatre on Olympic Avenue. “Trust me, it’s not already here. It’s not even ordered yet. Before the projector can even come here, we have to have 501(c)(3) status.”
During the SOT members’ regular meeting at the Local Scoop Restaurant on Wednesday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m., they discussed how to update the community on their current status, and to that end, further cemented plans to put in an appearance at the 14th annual Show ‘N’ Shine Car Show, sponsored by the Downtown Arlington Business Association, on Saturday, June 8, by the Olympic Theatre itself.
“We need to work on a timeline and let people know what steps are left,” said Val Kellogg, who reported that one contributor had offered to donate one free movie to the Olympic Theatre each month, starting in June or July, and continuing on a month-to-month basis.
Although Pappas does not expect to start playing 3D films anytime soon, she’s checked out digital projectors that would allow her to add 3D projection later on, since a primary requirement of running modern 3D films is a projector with sufficient light, given that 3D dims the lighting of films.
“It’s pretty complicated when you consider all the components that go into making a projector that will work for a single specific theater, in terms of the size of the screen and the depth of the theater,” Kellogg said.
While Pappas makes plans to modernize, she has no intentions of leaving the past behind since she aims to keep her old film projector so that she can still play any non-digital films she might happen to come across.
While the Olympic Theatre Foundation was certified on May 8, its 501(c)(3) status is still in the process.
“So, we can pay taxes now, but we can’t call ourselves a charity yet,” Kellogg laughed at the May 22 meeting.
The good news for the Olympic Theatre Foundation is that it can date its receipts backward once it obtains nonprofit status and, in the meantime, while donations are still being accepted, SOT members emphasized that all the donations they’ve received are being tracked with none of those funds being co-mingled.
Kellogg joined William Frankhouser and Mark and Julie Kirschenbaum in reviewing some of the suggestions they’ve received so far for further fundraisers, from Zumba to various outdoor activities, but Frankhouser also touted the value of piggybacking onto existing events, such as the Show ‘N’ Shine on June 8, which the Olympic Theatre Foundation will use to circulate the latest information about the SOT campaign.