Oak Street Cinema temporarily closed

by Marni Ginther

The Oak Street Cinema near the corner of Oak Street and Washington Avenue announced Thursday it will close until Labor Day.

The theater’s attendance is typically lower in the summer and parking is always an issue, said Minnesota Film Arts board member Susan Smoluchowski.

Low attendance due to the Stadium Village construction finally tipped the scales on the board’s decision to close the theater for the summer, she said.

But the news isn’t all bad.

The theater will still hold its Fearless Filmmakers event on July 25, which features work by local and regional filmmakers.

Smoluchowski also said the summer downtime will allow the organization to concentrate on programming for the fall.

Organizing screenings can be a time-consuming process, said Minnesota Film Arts office manager Jim Brunzell. Once films are chosen, the organization has to figure out how to market the event and who the target audience is.

“We’re going to try to have an interesting enough lineup in the fall so people will hopefully be coming in droves,” Smoluchowski said.

The folks at Oak Street Cinema aren’t the only ones affected by the construction.

Stadium Village Commercial Association President Jim Rosvold said he’s heard from some area stores that the construction is hurting their businesses. He also said he’s concerned about the recent closing of Oak Street, which he said came as a surprise.

“We were prepared for road shifting, but not road closing,” Rosvold said. Since Oak Street is a main road to Stadium Village businesses, Rosvold said he’s hoping it won’t stay closed long.

Despite having to close for the summer, Brunzell and Smoluchowski said they’re pretty confident the theater will bounce back when it reopens and school starts again.

“We’ve got some good supporters in the community,” Brunzell said. “Hopefully they’ll be coming back.”