106 East B St, Iron Mountain MI 49801
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Friends of the Braumart hope to restore downtown theatre
February 2008
Newspaper Clipping

Ask yourself this question: What could $10 buy me?

For most people, the answer would be simple - not much.

However, for $10 a person can become a member of the Friends of the Braumart committee, and work toward the purchase, restoration and renovation of the historic 80-year-old Braumart Theatre in downtown Iron Mountain.

In its heyday, the Braumart Theatre, which opened in 1925, featured live stage shows, and in the 1930s offered vaudeville reviews to the delight of the residents of Iron Mountain and the surrounding communities.

The theatre was remodeled in 1982 to accommodate two theatre screens, and subsequently renamed the Braumart Cinemas.

The Braumart Theatre closed its doors in 1996, one year after the Tri-City Cinema with its eight screens opened for business in Quinnesec.

"The Friends of the Braumart is a non-profit group that is currently recruiting people to become members," said Jinx Brew, a spokesperson for the Friends of the Braumart Committee. "We are hoping to obtain at a minimum of 100 members, but the more members we have, there would be a greater pool of talent, suggestions and ideas to draw from."

"Once we have 100 members, then we will hold nominations and voting to seat a board of trustees, and work toward becoming a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization," said Brew.

Once established, the Braumart Arts Center Board of Trustees can establish the non-profit status, oversee fund-raising campaigns, the acquisition of the theatre building itself, and the restoration/renovation and management of the braumart Arts Center.

"Our goal is to encourage the arts in Dickinson County, and to promote local fine artists and performing arts groups," Brew said.

They also hope to provide opportunities for educational instruction in the arts, and provide a venue for regional and national performances and exhibits.

The presence of a theatre enhances economic development, and provides a central location for gatherings, Brew said.

"Our main theme is to establish the Braumart as a cultural center, similar to the Bonifas Fine Arts Center in Escanaba," said Brew.

The idea for the cultural center and fine arts center is constantly changing and evolving.

There have been quite a few ideas presented including using the Braumart stage for plays, musicals, orchestra and choral performances, and converting the rooms located upstairs of the Braumart into classrooms for teaching fine arts students, or converting some of the rooms into meeting rooms for local organizations, said Brew.

"The building faces to the south, which makes it ideal for artists' studios," Brew said.

"I don't see the Braumart as becoming a movie theatre. However the screen could be utilized for Powerpoint presentations or other such presentations such as slide shows," said Brew.

Brew did note that the Braumart would be hosting a student film festival featuring students from both Iron Mountain and Kingsford school districts in April.

Brew also noted, that the committee has become members of the league of Historic American Theatres, which is a national membership organization of theatre operators and restoration specialists who provide support and information to communities through their expert knowledge.

"A preliminary business plan has been developed, and we are currently searching for a qualified restoration architect to conduct a feasibility study so we have a ballpark figure on the potential scope of the project," said Brew.

"Many areas have overlooked the importance of the local theatre to downtown vitality. The Braumart Theatre can be considered as an economic as well as cultural asset that will open the doors to new opportunities and new life to the Iron Mountain downtown area," said Brew.

Other organizations and groups working with the Friends of the Braumart Committee include the Dickinson County Community Theatre, Dickinson Ballet Co., One Community Through the Arts, and the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Women's Club.

"If we do acquire the building, there is a list of objectives that will need to be met to bring the building up to code," she said.

"There are issues with electrical and plumbing, in addition to determining how to convert the building to be compliant with the American's with Disabilities Act," she said.

"The first step would be to have the building inspected, and afterward bring the building as close to current code as possible. Once that issue has been addressed, then we can look at starting other projects, which could include curtains for the stage area, repairing the seating in the theatre, upgrading the lobby area, and windows. There are several projects which could then be undertaken," said Brew.

"This project truly is a labor of love and will be a lifetime project, as it will constantly change and grow. Once our board of trustees is seated, then begins the drive to raise the funs needed for the purchase of the building," said Brew.

"Once that is accomplished, then we can move forward to obtain grants that are available for the restoration and renovation of this grand dame to become a focal point for the downtown area that is Iron Mountain," she said.

To become a member, submit your name, address, phone and e-mail address and a $10 check made out to Dickinson County Community Theatre and sent to Friends of the Braumart, PO Box 156, Iron Mountain, MI 49801.

Any questions can be directed to Brew at 774-8837.


This is a call to join the Friends of the Braumart
February 2008
Newspaper Clipping

It is with great excitement and anticipation that we announce our efforts to form a non-profit group - Friends of the Braumart to purchase and restore the memorable historic theatre in our emerging downtown Iron Mountain. Our goal is to encourage the arts to flourish in the Dickinson County area by promoting local fine artists and local performing arts groups,providing opportunities for education in the arts, as well as providing a venue for regional and national performances and exhibits.

The Braumart, currently the Performing Arts Center on B Street, has served Iron Mountain for more than 80 years. Restoring this historic theatre is a rare chance to do something special for our community. With your support, the Braumart Arts Center can provide us with a central location for arts and culture showcased in a beautiful historic building. Many communities have overlooked the importance of the local theatre to downtown vitality. Considering the Braumart Theatre as an economic as well as cultural asset opens doors to new opportunities an new life for our downtown.

A group of dedicated folks form the Dickinson County Community Theatre began this important work last year with research of the possibilities. They joined the League of Historic American Theatres, a national membership organization of theatre operators and restoration specialists who provide support and information to communities through their expert knowledge and skill. A preliminary Business Plan has been developed and we are currently searching for a qualified restoration architect who will conduct a feasibility study to ballpark the potential scale and scope of the project.

We're looking for community-wide membership. We welcome all individuals, whether you are a patron the parts, an arts lover, an artist, or a civic minded citizen -- we want you! If you're interested in joining Friends of the Braumart, here is how to get involved... fill out and return an application (available by calling 906-774-8837). Or simply send $10 annual membership fee to:

Friends of the Braumart
c/o Dickinson County Community Theatre
PO Box 156
Iron Mountain, MI 49801

Once we have reached our first 100 members, we will take nominations and elect the Board of Trustees. Friends of the Braumart Board of Trustees will then establish non-profit status, oversee fundraising, acquisition, restoration and management of the Braumart Arts Center.

Restoring a performance space can positively influence a community's quality of life and spur further economic redevelopment in the downtown district. We want you to be a part of this exciting project!

Dreams do come true, and all things remain forever possible.

Dickinson County Community Theatre
Dickinson Ballet Company
One Community Through The Arts
Iron Mountain-Kingsford (GFWC) Women's Club


Group seeks to revive old Braumart Theatre
February 2008
Newspaper Clipping

The call is being made for local residents to join a non-profit group that wants to purchase and restore an historic building in Iron Mountain.

Members of the Friends of the Braumart are excited with the prospect of restoring the historic theatre building in the downtown area.

Located on 104 East B St. in Iron Mountain, the building currently serves as the Performing Arts Center.

The goal of Friends of the Braumart is to encourage the arts to flourish in the Dickinson County area by promoting local fine artists and performing arts groups, provide opportunities for education in the arts and provide a venue for regional and national performances and exhibits.

The Braumart Theatre building has served the Iron Mountain area for more than 80 years.

"Restoring this historic theatre is a rare chance to do something special for our community," said Jinx Brew, a spokesperson for the group.

Community support is needed if the braumart Arts Center is to provide the area with a central location for arts and culture that will be showcased in a beautiful historic building, Brew added.

"Many areas have overlooked the importance of the local theatre to downtown vitality. The Braumart Theatre can be considered as an economic as well as cultural asset that opens doors to new opportunities and new life for our downtown," she said.

A group from the Dickinson County Community Theatre began this work last year by researching the possibilities.

"We thought this would be a good time to get this going," Brew said.

They joined the League of Historic American Theatres, which is a national membership organization of theatre operators and restoration specialists who provide support and information to communities through their expert knowledge.

A preliminary business plan has been developed. The group is searching for a qualified restoration architect to conduct a feasibility study to get a ballpark figure on the potential scope of the project.

"We're looking for community-wide membership and welcome all individuals, whether you are a patron of the arts, an arts lover, an artist or a civic-minded citizen, we want you," Brew said.

To get involved with the Friends of the Braumart, residents can fill out an application with the $10 membership fee.

Once they have the first 100 members, they will take nominations and elect a board of trustees. The Friends of the Braumart Board of Trustees can establish the non-profit status, oversee fund-raising, acquisition, restoration and management of the Braumart Arts Center.

"Restoring a performance space can positively influence a community's quality of life an spur further economic redevelopment in the downtown district," she said.

Groups currently involved in this effort include the Dickinson County Community Theatre, Dickinson Ballet Co., One Community Through the Arts, and Iron Mountain-Kingsford Women's Club.

The membership application for the Friends of the Braumart asks for the person's name, address, phone and e-mail address and a $10 annual membership fee made out to Dickinson County Community Theatre and sent to Friends of the Braumart, P.O. Box 156, Iron Mountain, MI 49801.

Any questions can be directed to Jinx Brew, board member of the Dickinson County Community Theatre, at 774-8837.

As for volunteers, the group is asking Friends of the Braumart to assist in public and community relations, fund-raising, marketing, programming, grant writing, building maintenance and management - and just moral support.

The building is currently owned by James and Diane Ehmer of Pembine, Wis., who purchased it in 1996 from the Thomas Theatre Co.

The Braumart opened in 1925 and during the 1930s featured live stage shows and vaudeville.

It was remodeled in 1982 to handle two separate theaters and was renamed Braumart Cinemas. In April 1995, a new eight-screen cinema opened on U.S. 2 in Quinnesec and Thomas Theatre Co. continued to show films at the Braumart until closing in January 1996.

Friends of the Braumart members are looking to first purchase the building before applying for grants to restore it.




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