More film screenings indoors and outdoors. An air-conditioned warehouse/theater. Bigger office space. More students at education workshops and summer camps.
For the nonprofit that champions artist-made, independent film and media, the new 2,500-sq.-ft. digs will double its current bungalow space on the Menil campus and solve a key concern in its long term strategic plan. Although staff is accustomed to mounting screenings all over the city — Market Square Park, Buffalo Bayou, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Orange Show Monument, Project Row Houses and the 1940 Air Terminal Museum among some of the nontraditional locations — Aurora has longed for a venue that will accommodate all its needs, at least for the next three years.
"The architecture fits our style. It's clean, modern, energetic and vibrant."
"Our search for a suitable facility has been our No. 1 challenge since I joined the staff in 2006," executive director Delicia Harvey tells CultureMap. "In our previous location (a converted 1924 church in Sunset Heights), we felt our audience was dwindling.
"Our current nomadic life is hard on the staff. And with the tremendous demand and growth on education programs, we needed to do something."
The galvanized metal structure sits on the corner of Bartlett and Mellon Streets and butts against Deborah Colton Gallery. That it's close to Goode's Armadillo Palace and Goode Co. Bar-B-Q is a bonus.
"The architecture fits our style, " Harvey says. "It's clean, modern, energetic and vibrant."
A large, fenced Astroturf lawn can be set up for outdoor screenings, social gatherings, cocktail parties fundraising events and media workshops. The air conditioned warehouse can hold up to 100 guests — tripling the capacity from Aurora's current space. With traditional screening fees ranging from $250 to $500 to live cinema upwards of $10,000, having room for more patrons will increase Aurora's earned revenue stream.
Once settled in, Aurora plans on allowing other creative partners to rent the flexible studio.
"We intend to continue to work with all the organizations and screening partners we met while anchored here."
Aurora has a long standing relationship with Gochman since the nonprofit's inception. The conceptual artist was a board member, hosted Aurora Awards dinners and the Extremely Shorts Film Festivals and donated artwork. Gochman has hosted other nonprofit galas, weddings and art related events.
Some of the site installations on view will have to be removed. A Kickstarter campaign will be launched in mid-April to fund the $10,000 of improvements needed. The first official Aurora Picture Show event, The 15th Annual Extremely Short Film Festival, is set for June 29-30.
The location on Sul Ross had many benefits.
"We loved the visibility we gained from being a part of the Menil campus," associate director Rachel Blackney Tepper says. "Yes, we will miss the greenery, the delightful sunlight and all our friends. And we intend to continue to work with all the organizations and screening partners we met while anchored here."
As for the charming bungalow on the Menil Campus, a lease is in the works with an unnamed tenant but not yet signed.