The Spearfish City Council made an interesting nod toward the importance of the arts and downtown development last week. At their April 20 meeting, the city approved the Spearfish Arts Center's request for $13,000 to purchase a film screen and projection system for the Matthews Opera House. SAC exec Debora Smoot tells RCJ that the equipment will allow the group to host film festivals as well as show old-time movies, documentaries, and other non-big-release productions for the community and visitors. The downtown moviehouse idea has been in the works for years, but got a kick in the pants from tour companies calling to ask what Spearfish was going to replacce the now-closed Passion Play with.
Spearfish recognizes as well as any town in South Dakota that public investment in the arts brings a good return, culturally and often financially. Perhaps Madison and the LAIC should take note: what better way to start a lasting downtown renovation than converting the vacant Masons' building into a downtown movie theater?
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