Fiske Awarded Tulane School of Architecture Dean’s Fund for Excellence Grant

!950's Fiske

NEW ORLEANS — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Tulane School of Architecture are pleased to announce the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. has been awarded the Tulane School of Architecture Deans Fund for Excellence Grant to be used for historical research of small mid-century theatres in Louisiana.

“This is tremendous news for our theatre,” Adam Holland, President of Holland Entertainment who operates the Fiske Theatre for the West Carroll Chamber said. “Since we have been involved with the theatre it has been our goal to restore her reputation as one of the most respected theatres in the region.  By being awarded this grant to be case study for an institution as prestigious as Tulane, it shows we are being noticed across the state.”

Tulane’s project will include documentation and historical research of the Ultra-Moderne Art-Deco architecture of the late B.W. Stevens who designed the Fiske Theatre as well as the Joy on Canal Street in New Orleans.  This research will include reproducing the lost blueprints of the theatre as well as preparing documentation to assist in the submission for future listing on the National Register of Historic Places when the theatre becomes eligible in coming years.

“This project, just like most of our other projects came about via accident.” W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “I had Adam doing research through the Southeastern Architecture Archives, which are housed at Tulane, in hopes of finding a copy of our blueprints to begin the process of planning for future renovations to the lobby for handicapped restrooms and an expanded concession area.  Doing this he stumbled across Andrew Liles. After hearing our story and seeing pictures of the Fiske he was so impressed with what we as the chamber along with the people of Northeast Louisiana and the Holland Family have accomplished, he became excited about our theatre and wanted to get involved by applying for this grant which will allow for his students to study our theatre.”

Liles is a practicing architect, operating his own firm in New Orleans, and is Adjunct Faculty at Tulane School of Architecture.

Liles’s oversight of the project will be joined by the director of the School of Architecture’s Master of Preservation Studies program, Professor John H. Stubbs, a native of Monroe who has spent most of his career in international architectural conservation. Stubbs has also served as advisor to the State’s current initiative to nominate Poverty Point State Historic Site in Epps, La. to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The student team will consist of a Master of Architecture candidate and two Master of Historic Preservation candidates, all of whom will measure the existing building, complete a stylistic analysis, compile historical documents, contextualize the significance of the Fiske in relation to other regional theatres and produce a publication-ready document.

“We are thrilled to be able to study and participate in the rebirth of such a great piece of American architecture,” Andrew Liles, Tulane School of Architecture said. “The Fiske, with its cutting edge design of its time, is a true example of mid-century Streamline Moderne Architecture, and we feel this study will be very beneficial to our students who will be participating in this effort.”

Through engagement with the Fiske Theatre and its Oak Grove community this Dean’s Fund project will highlight the value of small mid-century theatres in Louisiana as a case study that can be used as a tool to encourage similar preservation efforts throughout the region.   In this way, it is an opportunity for Tulane School of Architecture to serve the states northern parishes beyond Oak Grove as The Cave in Delhi and Joy in Rayville are two candidates for restoration or adaptive reuse that could benefit from a publication of the means and methods of the revitalized Fiske Theatre.

“Once again enough cannot be said about the chambers efforts to preserve this part of West Carroll’s history,” Honorary Fiske Theatre Chairman Ronald C. Fiske said. “Tulane choosing Dad’s theatre to study continues his visionary legacy of excellence, and on behalf of our family we thank Tulane and the Chamber for helping insure his investments continue to touch the lives of the people of Northeast Louisiana long after he has been gone.”

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove.  Funds from this project in no way will be used for general operation of the theatre.  For more information on the Tulane School of Architecture visit them at architecture.tulane.edu or on the Fiske Theatre visit fisketheatre.com or westcarrollchamber.com.

 

 

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Chamber Welcomes Two New Businesses To Oak Grove

Chamber welcomes Oak Grove Pawn Shop to town.

Chamber welcomes Oak Grove Pawn Shop to town.

Chamber wecomes Chopsticks Buffet to Oak Grove.

Chamber wecomes Chopsticks Buffet to Oak Grove.

OAK GROVE, La. — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce along with community leaders and business people celebrated the opening of two new businesses in Oak Grove, La. the week of February 25-March 1.

“It is always exciting to welcome new businesses to our community,” W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “This week we had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate with two budding entrepreneurs and we wish them both the most success in their ventures.”

Tuesday welcoming the latest option to treat the pallets of the citizens of Northeast Louisiana to international Cuisine it welcomed Chopsticks Buffet, located in the Redmond Mitchners Building 100 East Main Street in Oak Grove.  Chopsticks is a full service Chinese Buffet.

Thursday, the Chamber welcomed Oak Grove Pawn Shop to the business community.  Oak Grove Pawn Shop is located at the site of the former C&W Pawn Shop in Oak Grove.

The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce is West Carroll’s premier support organization for businesses and community leaders in West Carroll Parish.  The Chamber Office is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am – Noon and you can keep up with what’s going on by visiting westcarrollchamber.com

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North La. Sweet Potato and Blue Grass Festivals Slated for April 3-6 in OAK GROVE

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Classic Cars lined-up on main street at the 2012 North Louisiana Sweet Potato Festival.

OAK GROVE, —West Carroll Parish’s premier festival, The North Louisiana Sweet Potato Festival, presented by Lamb Weston, is slated to take place April 4-6 in Downtown Oak Grove in conjunction with the North Louisiana Spring Bluegrass Festival that will be taking place at the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center just south of town.

“We are very excited about this year’s festivals,” W.C. Chamber Special Events Coordinator Adam Holland said. “We are now in our third year with the Sweet Potato Festival and the NEED Foundation is in their 10th year of the Spring Bluegrass festival. We are looking to make both events better than ever.”

Sweet Potato Festival and Spring Bluegrass Festival draws people from all across the Southern Region of the United States to take in some of the best Blue Grass Music in the nation and enjoy a weekend full of good Hometown America cheer.

The event features an Arts and Crafts show which had more than 50 vendors in 2012, The AAA Safe Company Sweet Potato Cooking Contest, Ronald McDonald Classic Car Show, and the midway     provided by Miller Spectacular Shows out of Greenbrier, Ark. which is the carnival of choice for the Arkansas and Missouri State Fairs.  While all the activity is going on in town the festival also features an Antique Tractor pull that takes place next to the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center that is hosted by the Bouf River Antique Tractor Club.

The Bluegrass festival will kick-off April 3 with a covered dish super at the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center and will feature nightly performances, Thursday-Saturday with matinees on Friday and Saturday.  Special guest include Down Home Bluegrass, Harper Family, Lonesome Ridge, Joe Cook Family, Clancey Ferguson, Don Rigsby and of course the fan favorite Gary Waldrep Band.  For more information about the North La. Bluegrass Festival contact the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center at 318-428-5282 or visit them on line a www.needfoundationcommunitycenter.com.

Entertainment will be going on all day on April 6 at the Courtyard in the Historic District and there will be a free street dance April 5 and 6 at the Little Freezer Stage from 6 pm-10 pm presented by Honeycutt Communications.

The Bruce Foods Sweet Potato Parade will roll through town midday on April six and will tentatively feature marching bands, floats classic cars and more.

The festival committee is also in contact with a very special guest that is well known throughout Louisiana which will be named in a later release once details are finalized.

There are still plenty of vendor spaces available on a first come basis by calling Todd Nevels at 318-282-1549.

For more information on the McDonald’s Classic Car Show contact Tony Gilley at

318-267-5438.

For general inquires and event sponsorships contact Festival Chairman Adam Holland at 318-282-6938 or visit westcarrollchamber.com.

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Attendance Rises by 17.5% in 2012 at the Fiske

Sold OutHolland Entertainment LLC, operators of the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, have announced movie attendance in 2012 increased by 17.5% over 2011 posting its largest attendance numbers since the theatre returned to operation in 2009 with 16,967 movie goers this past year.

“2012 started slow and scary,” Adam Holland, President of Holland Entertainment said. “Only 3,288 people came to the movies from January – March last year which was our lowest attendance since we have been back, but things seemed to turn around in March and stayed hot posting quarterly increases in the second and fourth quarters of the year.”

The slow start of 2012 can be attributed to the lack luster performance of the box office nationally for the final quarter of 2011 when Hollywood flooded the market with what many called less than average movie going product.  The Fiske, who generally gets movies three to four weeks after the national release date carried those products over to the new year.

The increase locally follows the national trend where attendance was up 6% nationwide in 2012 with 1.36 billion people going to the movies compared to 1.29 billion which was the lowest movie going attendance since 1994 breaking two years of declines in movie attendance.

“The slow start had us on pins and needles,” Holland said. “After being forced by the industry to make a sizeable investment in digital technology to start the year as slow as we did caused some major concerns, but when the blockbusters began to roll in mid spring we saw the people of West Carroll still saw us as a valuable part to their quality of life.”

Much of the increase in attendance can be attributed to the solid product Hollywood put out in 2012 with such films as Breaking Dawn Pt. 2, The Avengers, Dark Knight, Hunger Games, The Amazing Spiderman and the sleeper hit, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, all of which performed better than expected at the box office.

“Movie going is a tradition in America,” Holland said. “Yes home technology has improved and release windows are getting shorter, but you cannot get at home what we offer at the cinema and that is Big Screens, Big Sound and most importantly that escape from reality and the communal movie going experience.  That is why movie going    has been and always will be the American people’s first choice for away from the home entertainment.”

The Fiske also debuted its newly renovated auditorium thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of Northeast Louisiana with the Chamber’s Operation 2012 Fundraiser and Project which gave the theatre her biggest facelift since she opened in April of 1950.

Holland is very optimistic about 2013 as Hollywood seems to have gotten the picture after the dismal to 2011 and the product seems to be strong in the coming year.

“We look to start 2013 strong with big award winning hits like LINCOLN, THE HOBBIT, and LES MISERABLES,” Holland said.  “Things look like they will fade some mid-spring but the summer and fall look hot with the new SUPER MAN “MAN OF STEEL,” LONE RANGER and many more.”

The Fiske Theatre is Northeast Louisiana’s oldest operating and last single screen movie theatre.  The Fiske is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La.

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W.C. Chamber Announces “Christmas Between The Rivers 2012”

The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce has announced an expanded schedule of Holiday activities for Northeast Louisiana that it has named “Christmas Between the Rivers 2012” capitalizing on the success it had last year with the ULM Chior’s Concert it hosted last season under the same name.

All of the activities kick-off Thursday, November 29 at 7 pm as the Louisiana-Monroe Choir brings Christmas Spirit to Oak Grove with its 2012 Christmas Concert. 

The Concert will feature the 60 member ULM Concert Choir and new this year will be a Barbershop Quartet.  Advanced tickets are available now at Merle Norman just down from the theatre and at Jessie’s Cheveron in Oak Grove for just $10, tickets can be picked up at the box office the night of the show for $15. 

The ULM Christmas Concert is presented by Sonic Drive-In, KWCL, and Holland Entertainment LLC. 

“Last year’s ULM Concert was well received with over 200 people in attendance with everyone saying they enjoyed it and wanted for it to become a yearly event.” W.C. Chamber Special Events Director Adam Holland said. “We hope the people of the region will show as much support this year as they did last year.” 

Proceeds from the ULM Christmas Concert benefit the ULM Chior and the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Special Event Fund. 

Other Holiday Events planned for West Carroll Parish include the Annual Christmas Boutique at the Lingo Center November 30 – December 1, the Annual Jaycees Christmas Parade on Main Street December 1, The movie “Christmas Angel at the Fiske Theatre December 4 & 5 (Regular Admission Prices,) and December 15 Ole Time Caroling at the Courthouse. 

For more information about these events visit Westcarrollchamber.com.

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New Fiske Theatre Opens Friday Night

OAK GROVE, La. — In 2010 she was named “North Louisiana’s Grand Dame of Movie Theatres” by the regional daily paper and this Friday night when her doors open to the public the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. will retake her place as the most modern and well equipped theatre in the state after undergoing an extensive make over funded by private donations.

A VIP Gala for those who contributed to the Operation 2012 Fund and past employees will take place Thursday night.

“Enough cannot be said about the outpouring of support we have received from the people of Northeast Louisiana in terms of donations and labor,” Operation 2012 Project Coordinator and Fiske Theatre Operator Adam Holland said.  “Going into this project back in the spring this was just a dream that we felt could be a reality, once the donations starting coming in we knew we were going to make it happen.”

Since the beginning of July renovations have been underway that has brought West Carroll Parish’s most iconic landmark back to her glory as the nicest place to see a movie in Northeast Louisiana.

When guest return the main floor of the theatre Friday night they will be treated to absolute luxury.  New wider seats with memory foam cushions and expanded leg room have replaced the 62 year old spring cushioned seats.  Other physical improvements made to the auditorium include repairing and painting the ceiling, walls and floor and covering the portion of the wall below the chair rail with carpet to absorb sound.

“We are very pleased with the way the auditorium has turned out,” Operation 2012 Co-Chairman John Elliott said. “The color scheme that our decorators picked out really adds to the movie going environment and provides a very relaxing sense to the entire experience of coming to the movies.”

The movie going experience has also been enhanced with the addition of Dolby 7.1 Digital Surround sound along with new and better speakers directed at the main floor of the auditorium to provide more crisp sound for patrons.

“The upgrade to Dolby 7.1 is a huge advancement for the theatre,” Holland said.  “Dolby 7.1 is the latest advancement in digital sound technology and we are the first theatre in North Louisiana to be able to provide this to movie goers.  With Dolby 7.1 you will feel as if you are immersed in the movie with dedicated sound coming from all angles at different points of the picture.”

No stone was left unturned, the lobby and restrooms also have been given upgrades and fresh paint along with much needed repairs to the overhang in the front of the theatre.

“We are so grateful to the people of Northeast Louisiana for supporting this project and bringing this magnificent building back to where she belongs to be as movie theatre in our region.” Holland said. “It is an honor to be at the helm of this great ship, the trust placed in me and my family to guide it and provide quality entertainment and a first class experience to the citizens of the region is a responsibility that we do not take for granted.”

The New Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 by the late Donald B. Fiske and was donated to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce in 1988 shortly before his death.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and Operated by Holland Entertainment LLC.  All funds raised by the chamber for Operation 2012 were used for upgrades and repairs to the theatre and the project books are available upon request.

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August 17 Marks The Final Night In Current Fiske Theatre

Fiske Theatre Auditorium August 8, 2012

Fiske Celebrates Last Night With Original Décor Friday

Friday (August 17) night’s screening of Walt Disney’s Pixar Division’s BRAVE will mark the last time the seats installed in the Fiske Theatre when she was built in 1950 will see the patrons they have greeted for over 62 years, as she will begin the final phase of her make-over on Saturday with the removal of all seats on the main level.

“This will be an emotional, but at the same time exciting night,” Fiske Theatre Operator Adam Holland said. “It is sad to see the old seats and décor that we have all come accustomed to go, but the new color scheme and comfortable seating will truly be an asset to this great building and West Carroll Parish.”

The final phase which includes the replacement of the seating on the main floor, and the repair and painting of the ceiling is part of the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 2012 Project to restore the Fiske Theatre.  The chamber’s Operation 2012 Committee has raised over $30,000 through private donations which has funded the largest renovation of the theatre since her doors opened on April 17, 1950.

The chamber is also requesting volunteers to help with the removal of the seats Saturday morning beginning at 8 am.  It is the chamber’s goal to have all of the seats removed on Saturday in order for the painters to move in on Monday to begin work.

“We are very grateful to the people of Northeast Louisiana for their tremendous outpouring of support for this project,” Holland said.  “Without the support of those who donated to the project we would not have been able to make improvements of this scale to the people’s theatre.”

Though the main floor of the theatre will be closed for the duration of the restoration, theatre operation will go on as scheduled with a complete line-up of movies for the month of August and September.  The anticipated reopening of the main floor will be September 20 with a VIP Gala and screening of Merle Streep and Tommy Lee Jones’ latest picture “Hope Springs.”  The main floor will open to the general public on Friday, September 24.

Donations are still being accepted by calling John Elliott at Regions Bank 318-428-9626 to fund any unexpected expenditures related to the project, with the balance being placed in a savings account for future necessary repairs.

The theatre was donated to the chamber in 1988 by the late Donald B. Fiske and is operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove.  All funds raised for Operation 2012 were used for theatre restoration and the books for the project will be made available upon request.

Below is a poem written to celebrate this momentous night which was written by Sister Gussie Ninemire of the First Church of God in Oak Grove.

Saying Goodbye

I’m just an old seat

But I’ve been around

Through lots of good times

In this old town

I’ve known you and

You’ve know me since 1950

When we first became known

As the Fiske Theatre Crew

I’ve served you for years

Watched your families grow

As you gather here

For a good picture show

I’m all worn out now and ready for change

My dismissal will be your gain

So please stop by on my special day

Decide just what you’d like to pay.

Sister Gussie Ninemire

March 30, 2012

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Fire Marshall Green Lights Fiske Theatre Project Plans

MONROE, La. — The Office of the Louisiana State Fire Marshall gave his stamp of approval to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 2012 Project to restore the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La., Thursday at his satellite office in Monroe, La. clearing the way for the project to start once the bid selection and fund raising portions of the project are complete.

“This is a step in the right direction, “ W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “We knew going in that we had to have the fire marshall’s approval before we could begin actual work on the project.  Now that this hurdle has been completed, everything is on go to begin the project hopefully at the end of July/first part of August.”

The State Fire Marshall’s approval of the project was necessary due to changing the seating layout of the theatre and the reduction of its seating capacity due to the new seats being larger than those that were installed in the theatre in 1950.

Under the new seating layout, the seating capacity of the theatre will be reduced from its current capacity of 653 to 524. By reducing the seating capacity, the area between seats will be widened from 20 inches to 35 inches which will allow for more comfort and leg room for movie goers. The new seats will also be about 4 inches wider and will feature cup holders. The new layout also features eight reserved assessable seating areas with permanent companion seats that will be located in the center of the auditorium rather than those with disabilities being segregated to the rear aisle of the auditorium.

The Fire Marshall also approved the Chamber and Holland Entertainment’s plans to continue to occupy and operate the theatre during the construction phase of the project.

“In its initial writing on the project, the Fire Marshall’s office had said occupation of the theatre would not be permitted until the project was complete, and he had signed a completion certificate which caused us some concern,” Adam Holland, President of Holland Entertainment which operates the theatre for the chamber said. “However his approval letter is quoted as saying, ‘It shall not be the intent of this office to prevent operation of the theatre during phases of the renovation work as long as our conditions are followed.’ which means normal operation of the theatre will continue uninterrupted.”

During the construction phase of the project the theatre will operate out of the balcony and movies will continue as scheduled.

To date the fundraising tally is at $23,228 which is just only $6,772 away from its goal of $30,000 which will allow for all of the committee’s charge to be completed. To make a donation contact John Elliott at Regions Bank (318-428-9626) or Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment, LLC of Oak Grove.  All funds raised will be used for theatre restoration and project books are available for review upon request.

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Terry Denmon Donates $10,000 To Theatre Project

Pictured Left to Right: Terry Denmon, Mrs. Doris Denmon, and Chamber President H. Dough Ainsworth.

Denmon Propels Chamber Closer to Goal

Oak Grove native and successful businessman Terry Denmon propelled the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 2012 Committee closer to its goal of $30,000 to be used to restore the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La with a donation of $10,000 toward the project which includes replacing the seats, repairing and painting the ceiling and replacing the front doors.

As of press time the tally to date stands at $22,183.

“We are very appreciative of Mr. Denmon’s donation to our cause,” Chamber President Doug Ainsworth who accepted the check on behalf of the committee said.  “It is always great to have a person who has become as successful as Mr. Denmon has in his field give back to his home town.  This donation brings us within striking distance of being able to complete all we have planned to do in returning our theatre to her rightful spot as the ‘Grand Dame of Movie Theatres’ in Northeast Louisiana.”

Donations are still being accepted by the chamber and can be made by visiting your neighborhood Regions Bank (Instruct them to contact the Oak Grove Branch for Account Information) or by contacting John Elliott at 318-428-9626 or Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996.

The committee is also currently accepting bids for the painting portion of the project.  For more information on the bidding process contact Adam Holland at 318-282-6938.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove.  All contributions to the Operation 2012 Project will be used for theatre restoration with no funds being used for general theatre operations.  Project books are available to the public upon request.

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Chamber’s Operation 2012 Committee Crosses $10,000 Mark for Fiske Renovation

OAK GROVE, La. — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 2012 Committee which is charged with raising $30,000 to complete the restoration of the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. has announced it has crossed the $10,000 mark in its fundraising efforts. As of press time the latest tally was $10,575.

“We are excited we have come this far, this fast,” Operation 2012 Chairman Robyn Creech said. “We have come along way toward reaching our goal, but still have a way to go but we are confident we will reach the mark we have set.”

The purpose of the fundraiser is to complete the Chamber’s renovation of the theatre by replacing the seats, repairing/repainting the ceiling and replacing the front doors of the theatre.

“From the start this has been an ambitious project,” Creech said. “But the ultimate goal will benefit all of Northeast Louisiana by bringing one of the regions most cherished landmarks back to her glory and allow her to continue to entertain rural Northeast Louisiana with affordable family entertainment.”

Donations can be made by calling your local branch of Regions Bank or by calling the Oak Grove Branch at 318-428-9626, Project Chairman Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996 or the theatre at 318-428-8289.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove. All funds raised from this project will go toward theatre restoration and no funds will be used for general theatre operation. Project books are available for review by request.

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