Champaign theater might become co-op
CHAMPAIGN — Now more than half way through his lease as operator of the Art Theater, Sanford Hess recommends that a community cooperative is formed to take over and operate the independent-movie house.
During his "The State of the Art" presentation on Sunday, Hess said he cannot sustain the status quo. The theater has not made enough money for him to pay himself back the money he loaned the Art Theater Inc. in its initial stages. He took over the theater in January 2010 from operator Greg Boardman.
"I work pretty hard on this and a lot of it's unpaid, with the company not generating enough money to pay me," said Hess, who said he has spent his own cash four times to keep the theater going.
Hess said a private individual could take over the Art and that he would be willing to help that person.
But he said the most likely scenario for sustaining the independent-movie house over the long haul is to have it become a cooperative, one that would be communally owned by its customers.
See more in Tuesday's News-Gazette.