A Winning Formula = The Arts + Small Businesses + The Ohio Theatre & Event Center

The first annual Glass City Film Festival (GCFF) kicking off today (May 19-21) is the perfect 2015-2016 season wrap-up for the historic Ohio Theatre and Event Center. The Ohio Theatre has experienced record attendance from a diverse audience during the 2015-2016 season, which focused on providing access to original arts programming– from storytelling to concerts to film festivals. This year was also remarkable for the Theatre in leveraging partnerships with local businesses. As a vibrant space linking creativity, culture, and business, the Ohio Theatre is clearly a driving force for the revitalization of the Lagrange Street Business District.

poster_4-21Beginning today, the Glass City Film Festival will offer an array of entertaining and thought-provoking films created by talented filmmakers from the region and beyond. For its premiere year, GCFF will feature 30 independently-made films from 11 U.S. cities, 8 countries, and across various genres. Not only will attendees view great films from around the globe, they will also be able to enjoy treats from local small businesses like Boochy Mama’s Probiotic Tonic and Antojitos Laredo Tacos. A unique element of GCFF – and a common thread in the Ohio Theatre’s programming – the festival intentionally includes building a more welcoming and inclusive community with an Islamic Understanding Film and Panel Discussion. The Islamic Understanding component leveraged other partnerships to make a more robust experience, including henna, jewelry vendors, and B-Bop Records.

The Ohio Theatre is known for its ongoing support of local businesses and continuing collaborations with community organizations and non-profits—like the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo—resulting in fresh arts programming for the community.  One such example is Spoken Toledo.  Launched last year, Spoken Toledo is now the Ohio Theatre’s premier quarterly storytelling event, featuring true stories told by Toledoans in combination with unique, locally sourced goods from area businesses. The most recent Spoken (March 2016) was a collaboration with the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission and Northwest Ohio Food Council. With the storytelling theme “you are what you eat,” the event leveraged food for patrons and prizes for storytellers, including selections from local farmer Josh Nicholson (popcorn), Humblebee Farm (cotton candy and gift certificates), Claudia’s Preserves (jams), Black Kite Coffee & Pies (gift certificates), and Jupmode (prize bags).OTEC LOGO

Another example of diverse arts programming incorporating small businesses support is the Ohio Theatre’s annual partnership on the Toledo International Film Festival (TIFF) with Welcome Toledo-Lucas County—a collaboration of partners working to build a more welcoming and inclusive community for immigrant and people of diverse cultures. The 2nd annual TIFF wowed the audience with an offering of compelling international films coupled with free food samplings from local ethic or immigrant-owned restaurants: Manos Greek Restaurant, Mi Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, Takacs Grocery & Meats, Koto Buki, and So Sweet Lebanese & French Pastries. In conjunction with TIFF, the theatre also received a significant donation to feature craft brews from a local distillery, Toledo Spirits.

These are just a few examples of how the Ohio Theatre is lifting up local small businesses, developing diverse partnerships, and leading the ONE Village neighborhood’s transformation through arts and culture.

For more information about the Ohio Theatre and to buy tickets for the Glass City Film Festival, check out their website: http://ohiotheatretoledo.org/.

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