Welcome to the Sunrise Spirit –
the Weekly Newsletter of The Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise
We hope that you will attend one of our lively Friday meetings,
whether or not you are interested in joining Rotary.
We meet (almost) every Friday at 7 am in the Plaza View Room
of Arcata’s historic Jacoby Storehouse.
For more information, please visit the RCAS Website.
Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create
lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
The RCAS Calendar
RISE: “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone“
- March 25 – BIG Adopt-a-Highway Event – be at the Coastal Nature Center at 9 am to participate!
- March 31 & April 1 – District Training Assembly
- May 4-7 – District Conference at Konocti Harbor Resort
- May 27-31 – Rotary International Convention in Melbourne, Australia
RCAS was on the road for its first meeting of March. We gathered in the upstairs apartment at the Eureka Theater. We toured the facility, which is still undergoing a big renovation, but we had some business to take care of first.
Shoshanna announced that the 2023 Downtown Arcata Ball will be taking place on Friday, March 10th at 6 pm. The event will take place at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, and it will also serve as the Annual Membership Meeting for Arcata Main Street. The event will start at 6 pm, and it will feature a silent auction, no-host bar, appetizers, photo booth, and several guest speakers.
We have started the hunt for our Club President for the 2024-2025 Rotary Year. Ian Schatz said that the Past Presidents are acting as a nominating committee, identifying Sunrisers who are highly qualified. The group has reached out to them to see whether this is a good time for them to serve. However, this is not a done deal – each member of our Club has the right to nominate someone for the position. We will officially open the nominations at our March 10th meeting, and we will look to also nominate members to fill the soon-to-be-vacant seats on our Board of Directors.
Ian then put on his Area Governor hat, reminding us to “save the dates” – first, for the District Training Assembly on Saturday, April 1st at the Ukiah Conference Center; and second, for the District Conference, which will take place from May 4th through the 7th at Konocti Harbor Resort. Both events will be a lot of fun, and you’ll make some great Rotary connections!
Claire Ajina talked about her recent visit to Washington, DC for the North American Youth Exchange Network (NAYEN) Convention. She said that about 500 people attended from all over the world. “We got to meet some of the connections on the other side where we send students,” she said, “which was wonderful.” Claire was pleased that there was an emphasis on mental health at the gathering. She said that she has been providing trainings for the Outbound Students, and more recently, for the Inbound Students as well. The workbook she uses for these sessions is “Your Life, Your Way: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,” by Joe Ciarrochi and Louise Hayes, with illustrations by Katharine Hall. Claire will be participating in a mindfulness retreat led by the book’s authors in Nepal this May.
RCAS Tours the Eureka Theater!
President Vanessa then turned the meeting over to our host, Gregg Foster, who also serves as President of the Eureka Theater Board of Directors. The day of our meeting was the 84th Birthday of the theater, which was dedicated and had its Invitational Opening on March 3, 1939, with the official Grand Opening the next day. Gregg provided a brief history of the facility before taking us on a tour.
Gregg said that the theater was built by George Mann of the Redwood Theater Company. Mann built other theaters in the area, including ones in Arcata, Fortuna, Willits, and others. He envisioned that the Eureka facility would cover the entire block, however financial considerations forced him to scale back the project.
The theater originally boasted 1,700 seats, and it was built specifically for showing movies. There was no provision for a stage – there were only six feet between the screen and the back wall, no rigging above, and no real wings to the sides. Movies were offered Tuesday through Sunday, with Monday as the only day off.
Eureka Theater operated as a single-screen operation until 1978, when it was renovated to accommodate three screens – the original screen on the main auditorium level, and two screens on the balcony level (with a wall separating the two sections on that level). The theater closed in 1996, succumbing to competition from the six-screen movie house at the Bayshore Mall, with the Broadway Eight (Broadway Cinemas) soon to open. The building was basically empty and abandoned. It was not in great shape when it closed, but soon trespassers and time took their toll on the majestic structure.
In 2000, the property was purchased by the Arkley family, and the nonprofit came into being. According to Gregg, “It’s been sort of a working, operating restoration” ever since.
The first phase involved cleaning the facility and repairing the roof. Once those tasks were completed, the next step was to renovate and restore the lobbies to their original glories. A digital projector was acquired, a new screen installed, and a new sound system was brought in. The idea was to get the theater operational, so movies could be shown, and revenue could be generated. This operating revenue and fundraisers have brought the theater to where it is today. Now, Gregg said, “we’re in a phase … where we have to start doing some major capital campaigns.” Repairing the monument sign and the overhang – both of which were damaged in 2010 and again in last December’s earthquake – will be very costly, and other projects – including the replacement of the heating system – will also be very expensive. The Board agreed that they could not operate their way to self-sufficiency; they would need major funding to complete the theater’s restoration.
Gregg says that being on the board is “a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun”. He joined thinking that “I’ll be one of those board members who shows up for events”. Ha! How did that work for you, Gregg?
The apartment will be offered as an Airbnb short-term rental type of space, providing a regular revenue stream. The unit has maintained its period look, with curved walls and the original light fixtures.
The group has installed a stage in front of the movie screen. Along with the new sound system, the theater can now support live music and other performances.
The next fundraiser for the theater will be the Red Carpet Gala for the Oscar Ceremony on Sunday, March 12th.
Full Meeting Video Link: