Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town. The Picture House Regional Film Center in Pelham has announced plans for an expansion of its operations to Bronxville.
The Bronxville Theater, a historic movie theater on Kraft Avenue owned and previously operated by Bow Tie Cinemas, will become another cultural hotspot, with a full extension of The Picture House’s film and education programs.
It’s been a monumental year for The Picture House, which has been celebrating the iconic Pelham theater’s centennial for the duration of 2021. Now, another 1920s era theater will join the roster of not only preserving important cultural spaces in Westchester County but enriching the masses and increasing audience accessibility.
The Bronxville expansion will add three screens to the regional film center, allowing for even more wide-ranging and varied programming of new, independent, foreign, and documentary films. The community impact of The Picture House can be felt across the region and has amplified access to the best available cinema, conversations, arts education, and live performances. And for a town that’s still embattled with the lingering effects of COVID-19 on the small business community, this comes as a beacon of hope.
“When we learned that the Bronxville movie theater was in danger of not reopening post-pandemic, we immediately put a call out to the community for a creative solution to keep the theater alive. We then heard that The Picture House Regional Film Center might be a possibility and we were absolutely thrilled,” says Bronxville Mayor, Mary Marvin. “The way The Picture House brings communities together around film and cultural discourse is exactly what we were hoping for in Bronxville. We have no doubt that having a Picture House location here in Bronxville will not only strengthen our community culturally, it will also help attract more people to eat, shop, and visit our downtown.”
The details of the reopening include a 10-year lease that has been signed between The Picture House and Bowtie, the fruition of about six months of work to make it all possible.
Laura deBuys, President and Executive Director of The Picture House, feels the partnership is a full-circle moment for the company.
“Our nonprofit was formed in 2003 when the Pelham theater was scheduled for demolition. It seems so fitting that, with the expansion to Bronxville, we can rescue another 1920s theater and further our mission at the same time,” says deBuys. “We’ll be extending Picture House programming to the Kraft Avenue location, exhibiting a wide array of films as we entertain, educate, and build a community around a shared love of art.”
Ben Moss, CEO of Bow Tie, which is based just over the border in Ridgefield, CT, adds, “As a four-generation family-owned company understanding the significance of movie theaters to local communities, we as much as anyone wanted to find a way to keep movies alive and well in Bronxville. Given our belief in the value The Picture House provides to the communities it serves, and overwhelming community support, we are confident in the success of a nonprofit cinema model in Bronxville, and we’re delighted to help make that happen.”
“It’s incredibly exciting to have this opportunity to broaden our impact and provide even more unique film and education programming to Westchester,” says The Picture House Board Chair Katy Loria. “We’ll reopen the theater in early February 2022. See you at the movies!”
The Bronxville Theater originally opened in 1926, with a single screen and a capacity of over 1,100. As of publication, the renaissance of The Picture House Bronxville is set to open its doors in February of 2022.