O Cinema to Open Outdoor Movie Theater in Wynwood
If the founders of O Cinema can have their dreams fulfilled, the small art house in Wynwood will be able to show three different screenings in three different parts of its building at once. Monday, the theater announced new funding that will get them halfway to that vision, a grant of $100,000 from ArtPlace America that will allow the movie house to hold free screenings outdoors. (The Adrienne Arsht Center also won an ArtPlace grant; look for more of its plans later this week.)
Kaelsie SARAVIA and Mauricio GONZALEZ of Surface Workshop A rendering of O Cinema's outdoor theater, coming soon.
Last week, the Knight Foundation announced O Cinema as one of 66 finalists of its Arts Challenge Grant. Should achieve that grant, it will allow for creation of a second screening room inside the theater.
Speaking over the phone, O Cinema co-founder Kareem Tabsch says, "We're super-honored and stoked to be a Knight's finalist this year, particularly since we were founded with a grant from the Knight Foundation. It's what allowed us to open our doors, so they've always been fervent supporters of ours. We are huge fans of theirs and eternally indebted to them."
The $100,000 ArtPlace grant will allow for screenings outdoors and help Tabsch and his colleagues improve the facility's exterior. Tabsch credits his partner in the cinema for spearheading this plan dubbed "Cine Al Fresco." Speaking over the phone, Marthell says, "Basically it's converting the outside area of O Cinema into a public green space where we can do outdoor screenings, performances and just contribute to the community in an artful way."
The idea will be to convert the wall that runs perpendicular to O's front door into a screen to project movies. "Part of what we wanted to do was to offer free screenings to the community, for the people that work in Wynwood, for the people that revel in Wynwood and for the people that live there," emphasizes Marthell. "We have to connect with them in order to connect to the community and let the community grow."
The films screening will add another layer to the already colorful programming running inside the theater. "We'll probably show funky movies for the community that will be family-friendly on those free nights," Marthell says, "and the other stuff is going to be kind of like what we program at O."
Marthell also notes that a big part of the grant will fund the "greening" of the art house and beyond. "The Wynwood area is lacking in green space," she says, "so we wanted to beautify it. We're gonna have a garden so that it's more conducive to a space for the community. Apart from that, the ability to show films outside--we have an amazing space--so it just seemed like a good fit."
Beyond the screening area, the grant will assist in the development of part of O Cinema's land few have ever noticed. "If you go around to the back area there's a big plot of land that we're going to turn into a bike area," Marthell reveals, "because everybody comes to O on bicycles, so we're going to dedicate a space for bike parking with some tables. We're going to try to partner up with a local youth organization to do some kind of vertical gardens, or something like that, back there. There already is an avocado tree."