Sands Saved

The Sands Theater in downtown Brush.

The Sands Theater in downtown Brush.

In late 2013, I wrote about the Sands Theater here in little ole downtown Brush being in dire need of raising funds to convert to digital or risk not being able to show movies any longer on its archaic movie equipment. The situation also prompted me to reminisce about the former movie theaters in my home town of Devils Lake, N.D., including its own downtown theater as well as a drive in movie theater.

Some $60,000 needed to be raised for the pricey equipment and the community rallied and held a variety of fund raisers and also launched a Save Our Sands Facebook page, which eventually garnered nearly 2,000 likes. The thought that the theater might have to close its doors touched the hearts of many former Brush residents who had fond memories of the theater over the years. The donations came pouring in with many sharing theater recollections. Fast forward to about a year later – the Sands Theater was saved.

Brush’s Sands Theater was not alone in its need to convert to digital. Small town theaters throughout Colorado found themselves in the same situation. It prompted an organization called downtown Colorado to launch an initiative called Save Our Screens to help provide grant money for theaters to convert to digital. And convert they did, with small towns from throughout Colorado rallying their communities to save their theaters. About a month ago the Brush Chamber of Commerce invited me, the town’s newspaper reporter, to attend a celebratory lunch in downtown Denver where small town theater owners would share their success in converting to digital and other stories about their small town theaters.

The theater owners’ dedication to their theaters was impressive and infectious. It was interesting to hear how other small towns were working to multi-purpose theater use including using them for other functions from film schools to funerals. The devotion to small town theaters was best expressed by one owner who said every small town should not be without two things – a library and a movie theater. Amen.

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