For more than a year, people worried that the 74-year-old, single-screen movie theater in downtown Arlington wouldn't keep up as Hollywood studios turned from film to digital delivery of their movies. The problem was that the conversion to digital was too expensive for longtime theater owner Norma Pappas to accomplish on her own.
William Frankhouser, a leader of the Save the Olympic Theatre campaign, received a commitment last week from an Arlington High School graduate for a fundraising match. By the end of this week, Save the Olympic Theatre hopes to raise another $500 to receive the entire $5,000 match offer from the Arlington alum.
Another anonymous person committed to buy the $38,000 digital projection system and then lease it to the Save the Olympic Theatre group, which would pay the lease as it can, Frankhouser said.
So far, Save the Olympic Theatre has raised about $12,300, about $4,500 of which was donated during a fundraising event earlier this month that included the showing of a documentary film about wild horses.
Other fundraisers to support the theater are in the works, including a T-shirt sale and a benefit concert by the Arlington-based classic rock band Strutz.
The original goal of raising $30,000 by March 1 has been pushed to July 1, Frankhouser said.
The money raised would be used to have the digital system delivered and installed, repair some theater seats, and begin to make the lease payments. The money also would be used to form a nonprofit foundation that eventually could buy the theater from Pappas, who previously didn't want to turn it over to a nonprofit.
"Norma is now open to eventually selling to a foundation," Frankhouser said.
"Things are looking up. We want to keep the Olympic open for first-run movies and other events. It's a big part of downtown Arlington."
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help the Olympic
To donate to Save the Olympic Theatre, go to savetheolympictheatre.org. The group Save the Olympic Theatre plans to meet at 7:30 p.m. April 11 at the Local Scoop restaurant, 434 N. Olympic Ave. The Olympic Theatre is located at 107 N. Olympic Ave. To find out what is showing, go to olympictheatre.net or call 360-435-3939.
Correction: An earlier version of this story omitted the date for the Save the Olympic Theatre meeting. It is at 7:30 p.m. April 11 at the Local Scoop restaurant, 434 N. Olympic Ave.
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