605-335-5757  stephenw@siouxfallsstatetheatre.org
 
 
LATEST NEWS & EVENTS


 
State Theatre seeks names for a price
Downtown venue could expedite renovations with naming rights

Selling naming rights to various parts of the State Theatre could get the historic building in downtown Sioux Falls open a little sooner that once expected.

Officials from the nonprofit State Theatre Company held a news conference Thursday morning to show off the nearly finished lobby’s new white marble walls, vintage-looking lights and other 1926-era details. During the event, they said collecting money for naming rights could help them more quickly raise the $1.2 million needed to get the auditorium open for showing movies — possibly within the next year.

“We’ll be looking at donations of any size, but I’m sure we’ll see some for $100,000, $200,000 and more — and perhaps more for naming rights for the auditorium,” said James Jacobson, vice president of the board of directors. “But one way or another, we definitely will get the remainder needed to get the theater open.”

Placing a name before the “State Theatre” label would require a donation of $1 million or more, Jacobson said.

Various groups have been working for years to renovate the theater at 318 S. Phillips Ave. Next on the list of improvements is building a new concession area and bathrooms between the lobby and the auditorium. That should be completed by April. Then, the attention will be turned to the auditorium, which needs a lot of work, including restoration of the walls and new seats.


The theater raised more than $1 million toward the restoration project last year through the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Appeal capital campaign. Businesses contributed that money, and the remaining money for this phase of the restoration will come from donations from individuals or families.

While the State Theatre Co.’s goal of raising another $1.2 million would finish the auditorium and get the theater open, there’s a lot more that could be improved in the future, said Stephen Williamson, who recently was hired as the State’s executive director.

The main floor will open with 416 stadium seats, but future campaigns would finish the balcony, boosting the total seating to about 1,000.

Later phases could add a lounge in the spacious former business offices on the second floor, Williamson said. And there’s a lot of room in the former apartment space on the third floor. The former Vaudeville theater’s original stage and wings, meanwhile, could be renovated for live theater events.

The Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science benefited from naming rights before it opened 11 years ago. In more recent years, the facility received more than $750,000 to rename the former “Great Hall” the “Mary W. Sommervold Hall.”

“Before the Pavilion even opened, it worked for other areas of our building, including the Kirby Science Center, the overall Husby Performing Arts Center and the Wells Fargo CineDome theater,” said Larry Toll, president of Washington Pavilion Management.

“I can’t tell you exactly all the contribution amounts that came back in the beginning, but it is a good way to raise a lot of money,” Toll said. “We have yet to put a name on the Visual Arts Center, but that would be a million-dollar naming donation if we did.”

Candy Hanson, president and CEO of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, said she thinks it’s quite possible for the State Theatre to raise substantial cash using naming rights. Her organization handles the “back office” functions such as bookkeeping for groups approved for the Chamber’s Community Appeal drives.

“I totally believe that the community is going to back them and they are going to get it done,” Hanson said. “I’ve sat in on several meetings of the State’s feasibility committee, and they have just a ton of great ideas for making that last million.”

Besides, Hanson said, she wants to see movies again in the same theater where she once saw “Love Story” and the first “Rocky” movie.

“Talk to people who are from here and they’ll name the movies they saw at the State. It’s just fascinating to hear people talk about it,” Hanson said. “There’s just so much support to get the theater open. And the experience in a theater like the State is completely different than in modern theaters.”

David Xenakis, a local businessman, attended Thursday’s news conference to get a look inside.

“I went to ‘The Exorcist’ here in the 1970s. It scared me, so I spent a good part of the movie in the lobby,” Xenakis said with a chuckle as he looked out at the massive — for now seatless — auditorium.

“I love this theater, and especially with the digital projector, it will open up so many more kinds of movies that can come here.”

During the past decade, other groups and the current State Theatre Co. have raised more than $2 million, said Stacy Newcomb-Weiland, theater board president. That money helped replace the roof, renovated the lighted marquee and made many other improvements that kept the building from further deterioration.

Jacobson said that when the theater finally opens, it will be “the shot in the arm for downtown that frankly nothing else can be.”

“It’s wonderful when you’ve got 2,000 people rolling into the Pavilion every third weekend for a different event. But this will draw hundreds of people into downtown every night for movies,” he said.


ArgusLeader.com (Jan. 19, 2012)

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Getting a look inside the State Theatre

A Downtown Sioux Falls gem is starting to sparkle again.

After months of work, the State Theatre is one step closer to opening its doors again.

Most of the work is complete in the lobby and next work will commence in the main auditorium.

So far the State Theatre Company has raised 1.5 million dollars, but they still have a good 900,000 left to go toward their goal of 2.4 million dollars and now they're asking for your help to reach that goal.

Work on the State Theatre is humming along. You can see it in the nearly complete lobby. Stacy Newcomb-Weiland is the State Theatre Company Board President. She says the campaign has been, "very successful, we're just thrilled, couldn't be happier with the progress this year."

Stacy announced the fundraising campaign among area businesses exceeded it's goal. She says now the campaign will focus on donations from individuals and families. It's a cause those involved say you should consider. Stacy says, "it's strengthening our entire community."

Betty Ordal works for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. She says, "our downtown is thriving and it's wonderful and this [the State Theatre] will really enhance it."

Betty has been instrumental in the State Theatre project thus far. She says when the theatre is open again it will bring more visitors downtown. She says, "I came here when I was in high school, so it's just nostalgic and it's fun."

Betty says she can remember the first movie she saw at the State Theatre. It was North to Alaska in 1960 and she says once films are shown on that screen again, nostalgic memories like that will also help bring people in. She says, "build it and they'll come. I think it's gonna be very exciting."

It's also exciting to watch the renovation process. Stacy says work will continue on the main auditorium next. She says the details theatre-wide will stay true to the original 1920's style, adding to the nostalgic feeling. Stacy says, "we're just letting the original décor take hold. it was beautiful when it was built and it will be fabulous when it's finished."

If you'd like to donate or volunteer with the State Theatre Company, click on this link: http://www.siouxfallsstatetheatre.org/Donate.aspx.

Stacy says they are expecting to have movies up and running in the State within a year to a year and a half.

When the theater re-opens they will have all kinds of movies, blockbusters, children's, foreign, independent and even classic movies will be shown.




KSFY.com (Jan. 19, 2012)

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Lobby Down, Next The Auditorium...State Theatre Update

"We wanted to get this part done so people could dream with us, see where it was and where it is going to be,” says Stacy Newcomb-Weiland, president of the Sioux Falls Theatre.

Soon people will be able to walk up these steps, take a seat, and watch a movie or play, board members could not be happier.

"This lobby being done is kind of the first step of letting us know it's going to happen,” says Greg McMahan.

To many on the board, it’s all about bringing back the fine details and intricate architecture.

"Even lighting you don't find them on the shelves today, they are an example of specialty things you have to buy,” says co-chair Dave Fleck.

"I've worked on this project and this is by far the most exciting, but we've had several along the way,” says Newcomb-Weiland.

With the lobby almost done the next step is the auditorium including anything from maintaining the historic feel of the theatre to fixing up the infrastructure.

When the curtains open in the next 12 to 18 months you'll be able to watch anything from blockbuster movies to foreign films.

For the first 6-9 months only movies will be played, but after that it’s fair game from plays to concerts. What makes this old theatre different from all of the others?

"They are all unique and that’s why people are enjoying them, it's not your typical construction project, it's something special,” says Newcomb-Weiland.

Taking a piece of history and making something new out of it.




KDLT.com (Jan. 19, 2012)

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State Theatre Shows Off New Lobby

The State Theatre in downtown Sioux Falls has reached another milestone in its cinematic comeback.

Workers have nearly finished restoring the historic building's lobby, and now they're getting ready to move onto the auditorium. This final phase is getting strong financial backing from the community.

A new-look lobby is just the ticket for the historic State Theatre. The ceiling is still awaiting a fresh coat of paint and more light fixtures, but the renovations that are in place capture the lobby's luster of years past.

"When I walked in here today, it really feels like I'm walking into the theater that I remember as a child," Fundraising Co-Chair Joe Henkin said.

To onetime State Theatre-goers like Henkin, the trip down memory lane passes through the renovated lobby and into the work-in-progress that is the auditorium. Restoration crews will have to flatten-out a section of the sloping floor to build restrooms as well as a concession area.

Then, the rest of the auditorium will be redone to its original glory when vaudeville and silent movies entertained Sioux Falls audiences. But the work all hinges upon private donations. Efforts to restore the State Theatre have been ongoing for years. But organizers hope that the progress people see now will help them push their fundraising goals over the top.

"For those people who have been sitting back and waiting to see, is this really going to happen, because this idea's been kicked around for quite a while. This shows progress, it shows excitement, it shows momentum," Henkin said.

Organizers are more than halfway toward their goal of raising $2.4 million to fix up up the auditorium. They're hoping the first movie plays in the completely-renovated State Theatre next year. They say the sooner the pledges come in, the sooner the curtain rises.

A $200,000 federal grant through a program called "Save America's Treasures" helped pay for the renovations to the State Theatre's lobby.

If you'd like to donate to the State Theatre's restoration, click here.



Keloland.com (Jan. 19, 2012)

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Editorial: Future looks bright for State Theatre
New director is one more sign that restored movie theater will become reality

The hiring of a new executive director at the State Theatre is one more sign that a downtown gem is being reborn step-by-incremental-step.

In the process, a vital part of downtown entertainment is coming back, promising more diverse offerings along Phillips Avenue’s business district.

That’s good for all of downtown.

Stephen Williamson, 43, will be a visible face for the entertainment anchor. While his job will be to raise money — officials are in a $2.4 million capital campaign that will complete restoration work on the building’s auditorium and film center — he also will bring additional awareness of the theater’s progress.

With Williamson on board, the future looks promising and downtown revitalization has been accented with an exclamation point. When open within a year to 18 months, the restored theater will show new-release movies, foreign and independent films, and children’s matinees on Saturdays.

In doing so, interest in downtown could expand to new audiences. It’s easy to imagine families stopping at the Washington Pavilion, grabbing a meal at a downtown eatery and taking in a movie at the State. Shoppers looking for unusual treasures might be interested in an independent film and downtown nightlife. The beauty of the aged building brings just a little more sophistication and awe to that experience.

Thanks in part to the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, which approved the theater’s capital campaign, restoration is closer to reality for a facility that several years ago seemed destined for demolition. Others had ran out of steam in trying to save the State.

With Phillips to the Falls on the north end of downtown and the State and the Pavilion close to the south end of the business district, there are plenty of reasons to stop in between. Retail shops, bars, expanded restaurant fare, banks, a hotel and the falls themselves join to keep visitors and locals happy in the city’s core.

Williamson is just one person working to make that experience an enjoyable reality. But he fills an important role at a facility that now seems more reality than dream.

ArgusLeader.com (Jan. 3, 2012)

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State of Restoration
New director works to restore, open downtown theater within 18 months

In his position as the new executive director of the State Theatre, Stephen Williamson said he plans to be out in the community full-time raising moneyfor continued restoration of the historic building as well as managing the day-to-day aspects of the theater.

Historical renovations in downtown Sioux Falls is one of Williamson’s passions. He was named to the newly created position last week.

Williamson, a Pierre native and University of South Dakota graduate, has lived in Sioux Falls for almost two decades. He has background in fund development and public relations.

Theater officials are conducting a $2.4 million capital campaign that will complete restoration work on the building’s auditorium and film center.

In the past year, the State Theatre has raised more than $1.2 million toward the restoration of the building through the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’s capital campaign. Williamson said the campaign raised more than $1.4 million by the end of 2011 counting in-kind gifts.

The restored theater will show new-release movies and foreign and independent films. Theater officials also plan to provide regular family-friendly children’s matinees on Saturdays.

The Argus Leader sat down to talk to Williamson about fundraising for the restoration for the theater and what the future holds for the historic building.



Question: How has the fundraising campaign been going and when does it officially end?

Answer: The campaign has been going extraordinary. We are exactly where we would like to be, where we envisioned being at this time. We continually have money coming in. We continually have people coming onboard as far as being donors and things of that sort, not only on the corporate side but also on the individual side. The State Theatre board has been exceptional. … We’re right on track to hopefully getting the State Theatre open within 12 to 18 months. There is no official end date (of the campaign). Once we get the theater open, there are still things to fundraise for, in regards to absolutely completing the project. The $2.4 actually gets the Theatre open, but there will be more stuff to do after that.

Q: What will this money be used for?

A: This money that we’re raising right now will do multiple things. It will get the main auditorium open, it will get us a new digital projector, a retractable screen, it will create bathrooms on the main level and a concession stand, and basically everything you see when you come in will be all historically renovated.

Q: Where are you in the restoration process and what is left to be done?

A: The lobby is almost completed. The lobby will be done in mid-January, except we are not going to do the stencil work then, because with the work that is going to be done in the main auditorium, there is going to be some dust flying around and it doesn’t make any sense to do all the elaborate stencil work before that work is done. The roof has been completely replaced, the asbestos has been removed, the old HVAC system is gone, and that will also be replaced in the new renovation. The marquee is now lit up every night. Those are the primary things that have been done so far. We’ve already put about a million-and-a-half into the building. They’ve been raising money since the late ‘90s, maybe the mid-to-late 90s.

Q: Why has the renovation taken this long to be completed?

A: Not having been here that long, the fact of the matter is that historical renovation is an expensive thing to take up. When we became a viable option for the chamber campaign, that’s what we had to get to, we had to get to that point and we weren’t there until a few years ago.

Q: Long range, what is next for the facility?

A: What’s next for the facility is we will get the balcony opened, we will complete the entire rest of the building. There’s some stuff in the background on the second and third floor that can be renovated. There’s some pretty interesting thoughts with what we can do with that space, nothing that we’re going to go public with yet. We also need to get the stage completely renovated so we can provide not only independent films and first-run films, but anything we want, because it’s a very nice, big, beautiful state. One of the things that will make the State incredibly unique here in Sioux Falls, outside its location and it being historical, is that we will have a beer and wine license.


ArgusLeader.com (Jan. 2, 2012)

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State Theatre hires new Executive Director  

The Sioux Falls State Theatre Company has announced the hiring of Stephen Williamson to serve as Executive Director of the Sioux Falls State Theatre Company. They say the move caps off a highly successful year for the State Theatre which saw it raise more than $1.2 million towards the restoration of the 1926 historic treasure through the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce's capital campaign. The restored State Theatre will offer new-release blockbuster films and foreign and independent films. The State also will provide regular family-friendly children's matinees on Saturday afternoons throughout the year. "Our fundraising success this year has created strong momentum", said State Theatre President Stacy Newcomb-Weiland. "By any measure, we've had an incredible year. But, we still have a lot of work in front of us and hiring a full-time director was the next logical step for the State Theatre Company," she added. Williamson, a Pierre native and University of South Dakota graduate has called Sioux Falls home for nearly two decades. With a professional background in both fund development and public relations, Williamson brings strong skills to the State Theatre's mission. "I am excited by the challenge of this project and the great potential it holds for Sioux Falls and the entire region. A restored State Theatre will be an incredible economic and community development tool for Sioux Falls. We've assembled a strong team of business and community leaders and I'm honored to have the opportunity to guide the State Theatre into its next phase," said Williamson.

KSFY.com (Dec. 27, 2011)

FULL ARTICLE


Similar Story: Argus Leader (Dec. 27, 2011) FULL ARTICLE

Similar Story: KDLT.com (Dec. 27, 2011) FULL ARTICLE

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State Theatre campaign reaches more than $1M in pledges

The Sioux Falls State Theatre Co. has received firm financial commitments of more than $1 million as part of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce's endorsed Community Appeals Campaign for 2011.

“By any measure, we've had a great start to our overall campaign,” said co-chairman Dave Fleck of Sioux Falls Construction.

The Sioux Falls State Theatre Co. is conducting a $2.4 million capital campaign that will complete restoration work on the building’s auditorium and film center.

“We've had a great start, but we also have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Stacy Newcomb Weiland, president of the group. “There is clearly strong interest and desire to see this project completed. Business and industry recognize the State Theatre will be an important driver of the entire community's economic engine.”

When completed, the State will offer the area's largest single-screen new-release film center with state-of-the-art digital technology. The renovated theater will feature new-release motion pictures, independent and foreign films, children's matinees and performance art.

Organizations, businesses or individuals interested in additional information, a tour or investing in the project can contact the State Theatre Co. office at 335-5757.

Sioux Falls Business Journal. (Sept. 15, 2011)


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Fresh Produce Marketing Agency presents $7,000 Check to State  

Fresh Produce, a local Sioux Falls advertising agency, presented the State Theatre with a check for $7,000, the proceeds from an art auction that Fresh Produce sponsored for local artists throughout the year.

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State Theatre Completes $200,000 "Save America's Treasures" Challenge Grant

The State Theatre was selected as a 2010 recipient of the Save America’s Treasures grant. Senator Tim Johnson was instrumental in helping secure this prestigious grant. The nationally renowned program aids in the restoration of national-historic sites. The State raised both cash and in-kind contributions towards the effort. A recent cash contribution of $25,000 from a local couple put the State Theatre’s challenge grant drive over the top. “We are thrilled to have received the full match which means we have actually secured $400,000 this year,” said State Theatre President Stacy Newcomb Weiland. “We are now in a position and on-schedule to remodel and restore the State’s lobby beginning in the next couple of weeks. This is the latest development that demonstrates the consistent progress we’ve made over the past few years,” she added. Over $1 million has already been invested in the State Theatre. These funds purchased the building, repaired the roof, removed asbestos, restored the State’s marquee and facade, repaired infrastructure, and provided architectural and engineering plans.
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State Hosts Open House Fundraiser Draws Crowd of 200 People

Here are some scenes from the event.


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The State Theatre has been earmarked for $2.2 Million in the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce's Community Appeals Campaign!

Although the money has yet to be raised, past fundraising campaigns have been successful, and the earmark shows that the Chamber has faith in the momentum in the project.
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We will be presenting to the Chamber of Commerce Community Appeals Committee - October 22, 2008 7:30 am in the State Theatre

Our presentation is an interview for the Chamber 2011 fund drive. The Chamber determines what fund raising projects will be supported by the Sioux Falls business community.

Please let your support for the State Theatre project be known to the Chamber of Commerce.
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Fall Fund Raising Event - October 25, 2008

The State Theatre will be open to the public from 6 - 9 pm.
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The new State Theatre project is a marathon, not a sprint.

We had a very succesful kick-off event at Architecture Incorporated in April but Rome was not built in a day - nor will returning the State Theatre to it's orginal splendor and purpose be accomplished overnight.
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The new State Theatre project is a marathon, not a sprint.

We had a very succesful kick-off event at Architecture Incorporated in April but Rome was not built in a day - nor will returning the State Theatre to it's orginal splendor and purpose be accomplished overnight.
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