The Novato Theater, a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, is conducting the capital campaign and will operate the theater once completed. Its mission is to serve the North Bay community by providing an extraordinary venue for cinema, live music, performing arts, public events, education and a broad spectrum of digital programming in downtown Novato.
The Novato Theater is the cornerstone landmark for our downtown, with the potential to be a valuable asset to the cultural and economic vitality of our community. Yet it has been closed for 20 years. Now with a highly dedicated and professional board of directors in place and half of the funds raised, we are well on our way to rebuilding this historic Theater for local and Bay Area citizens to enjoy today and for generations to come.
The total campaign goal is $4.7 million. To date, we have raised $1.9 million including a recent boost in fundraising with pledges of $1 million from the City of Novato, and $180K from our board of directors. We have also received a total of $300K from the County of Marin, $110K from the Margaret E. Haas Fund, $25K from the Marin Community Foundation and hundreds of donations from local citizens who share our vision. We are now launching the next phase of our capital campaign to raise the final $3 million.The Theater will be designed to maintain its nostalgic “art deco” look, and will have a large downstairs theater to seat 235, an upstairs studio theatre with 48 removable seats, a spacious lobby for receptions and concessions, and state-of-the-art sound and visual systems. It will serve as a community cultural center for year-round film programming, as well as live music, performing arts, literary arts and simulcast showings of opera, Broadway Theater, sports, and other musical events for all ages. The facility will be available to rent for community meetings, private events, and educational outreach programming.
Benefits and Economic Impact
The Arts and in particular small “downtown” theater venues are essential to the health and vitality of communities. This has been proven in Marin County with the success of the Lark and Rafael theaters. Among other benefits, small theaters can beautify and animate cities, provide employment, attract locals and tourists, compliment adjacent businesses, enhance property values, expand the tax base and contribute to a creative and innovative environment (Source: AmericansfortheArts.org).
The economic impacts of the Novato Theater during the construction phase will include increased spending on local wages and supplies and increased local tax revenues due to new incomes and retail spending. Once the space is ready for operation, the theater will have ongoing effects on business revenues, supported jobs, and local tax receipts (Source: MEF Report 5/20/2013).
Current Status of Construction
As far as the building goes, a great deal of work has been done. The existing slab floor has been replaced with a new one that will meet ADA requirements. The foundation has been replaced and extended all the way to Scown Lane. The extension is about the size of our future stage. New utilities for sewer and power have been installed underground, as well as utilities below the floor of the theater. The barrier was recently moved back to allow for NMWD to install a new 4″ water supply that will accommodate the fire sprinkler system as well as domestic water.
The weather has been a factor, as we continue to fundraise to complete the structure to meet our goal to be up and running for the Mill Valley Film Festival’s 40 anniversary in the fall. We are looking for donations of all sizes to meet this goal and hope to find someone that would like to take advantage of the naming rights for the Theater Building.
Thank you for your support!