$25K in 10 Days!


Dear Friends of the Art Theater,

I am thrilled to report that we have achieved our goal of raising $25,000… in just 10 days!! On behalf of everyone at the Art, I offer our heartfelt thanks. Your response to our request proves in no uncertain terms that our community loves high-quality films and appreciates the contribution that the Art Theater makes to the cultural landscape of Urbana-Champaign. It’s a message that all of us at the Art were hoping to hear, and you roared it. Infinite thanks to all of you!

With this urgent need now resolved, we are ready to shift our mission into high gear. As I indicated in my request, the Art Film Foundation is a relatively new organization. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we took over management of the Art Theater in 2017; and with a recently revitalized staff and Board, we are now at the point of developing long-term plans for true sustainability.

Our main plan, of course, is to continue offering outstanding cinematic experiences. Over the next year and beyond, we will bring you the finest of films – those from diverse eras and parts of the world, those that rouse our emotions, those that expand our awareness and challenge us to think differently, and even those that are simply great fun (I’m talking to you, Rocky Horror fans).

A second plan is to implement a forward-looking development strategy that makes clear that the Art Theater is a member-driven, community organization, i.e., that we operate only through the relationships we have with our local patrons and the relationships we seek to create with new communities. As with almost all nonprofit arts organizations, our strength will depend on community participation and support. We can’t survive on ticket sales alone. To this end, we’ll be launching a membership drive in the near future to encourage those unfamiliar with the Art to check us out and join us. We’ll also be offering special fundraising events (they’ll be fun, I promise), submitting grants to foundations and arts organizations, and seeking local business partners.

With those two pillars – outstanding programming and a long-term development strategy – in place, I think the Art Theater is well positioned to succeed. It won’t be easy, for the arts are struggling everywhere, but we on the Board are dedicated to the Theater’s success, and we know you are too. So, please stay tuned, please come see a movie with us, and please take pride in having helped the Art meet this challenge and position ourselves for wonderful days ahead as YOUR local home for great movies.


Jerry Payonk
President, Board of Directors, Art Film Foundation

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