The Marquee

What’s happening at The Picture House

It Takes a Nation

by Laura deBuys

Since being forced to close our theater nearly one year ago, one thing has been made brilliantly clear: it takes more than a village — it takes a nation to weather a pandemic.

From the outset, The Picture House Board and staff have dug in and created new ways of delivering on our mission — and our members and donors have been right by our side helping us carry on, showing us that our survival matters. 

But without federal help from the CARES act, we would not have made it this far ­— and without Senator Chuck Schumer’s spearheading of the Save Our Stages legislation in the SVOG (Shuttered Venue Operators Grant) the months ahead would be dire.

We have been lucky. Since the onset of COVID-19, many movie theaters — which often serve as accessible gathering places for the exchange of art and ideas ­— have permanently closed. Few have been able to take their programming online — many have reduced staff and are trying to wait it out. 

Despite the very good news on the vaccine front, theaters may not open until late spring — and then at reduced capacity. When we do return to in-person business, it will be within an altered industry. Films slated for 2020 have moved to streaming or have pushed their release dates into late 2021 and 2022. New films have had to delay shooting and industry standards have shifted. The theatrical window — the period that newly released films are exclusively available in theaters — has collapsed. 

Yet, we can assure you that our organization will stay relevant and vital. People want to come together when they can do so safely.  They want to share experiences and ideas. They want to celebrate. Senator Schumer’s dedication to the arts and his diligent championing of the Save Our Stages legislation provides a critical lifeline for The Picture House and thousands of other cultural venues across the country so that our communities can once again gather when this tumultuous time has passed.