Two iconic businesses in Batesville are in danger of closing.
The Gibson Theatre and the Sherman House (please see related article below) are staples of downtown and need the community’s help to keep their doors open.
For nearly 100 years, the Gibson Theatre has shown movies on the big screen to generations of families. In order to continue this tradition, it must transition from 35-millimeter movies to a digital format, and new equipment must be purchased and installed.
“It’s an historical site in Batesville that has been open since 1921,” reports owner Kim Powell. “It’s something that is very good for the community” because it provides a place for community fundraisers, special events, school outings and student reward programs.
Powell has applied for 501(c)3 (nonprofit) status. “With this, we will be able to offer more educational stuff for the kids, and we can apply for grants.”
The owner along with other supporters are looking for ways to raise the funds. They have put the information on Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) with a goal of $15,000. Persons “can make a pledge, but until we reach the goal, no one is charged,” he reveals. As of May 9, 65 backers have pledged $7,156. Others have until May 26 to make a donation.
Powell and his team are also seeking other grants and assistance to help raise an additional $40,000-plus to purchase the equipment.
On Wednesday, May 14, there will be a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Sherman House to discuss the Gibson Theatre, reports Mayor Rick Fledderman. This meeting will follow the 5:30 p.m. Batesville Main Street meeting there. According to him, “The purpose of the meeting is to provide an update on the efforts to obtain a digital projector and keep the Gibson a viable option and opportunity for the city of Batesville.”
On Saturday, May 17, from 2-4 p.m., an open house will be held at the theater. Free movies will be shown, and guests will have the opportunity to tour areas seldom seen, including the projection room.