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It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Community Support

Joe Jennison

The Gazette

June 4, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

    I am not a superhero. I do not have the $3.5 million needed to help out the struggling Science Station ó McLeod/Busse IMAX Dome Theatre in Cedar Rapids. I also cannot outrun a speeding locomotive or leap tall buildings in a single bound. But I do think I can help our local IMAX. And so can you.

    Like you, I have made the decision to live in the Corridor because I want to live in a community with 10 museums, 11 theater companies, 15 art galleries, an opera company, two symphonies, more than 20 historical sites and one very large IMAX Theater. It is these organizations that persuaded me to move to this area from San Francisco nearly three years ago, and it is these organizations that contribute to the great quality of life that I enjoy. I could not imagine living in this area were it not for the terrific art and theater and music and historical choices that we enjoy each and every day.

    If you, like me, believe that the many cultural choices available in the Corridor are indeed what makes this a great place to live and work, then letís prove it to Executive Director Joe Hastings and Marketing Director Kevin Eisenmann at the IMAX. Letís make a pact today to sell out each and every showing of the upcoming potential blockbuster ĎĎSuperman Returnsíí when it reaches our local IMAX June 30.

    Hastings tells me that if we sell out the IMAX every showing of just this one movie, we will generate $125,000. And thatís not counting the popcorn and T-shirts and gift certificates and museum admission that is raised each and every time large groups walk through the door. That $125,000 will go a long way toward the Science Stationís reported $400,000 in operating debt and will prove to the staff and board of the Science Station that yes, this community WANTS an IMAX Theater in this area and is willing to support it.

    Throughout July, the Science Station is offering something called ĎĎSuper Scienceíí programming to augment the IMAX movie, which will include something called the Superman trainer, X-ray vision tester and superstrength-o-meter. This sounds so incredibly cool to me that I canít believe my admission fee is actually at the same time going to help the Science Station through its financial crisis. I canít wait to see it.

    Letís hope a millionaire superhero steps up to address the larger financial problems of the Science Station, but in the meantime even us mildmannered Clark Kents of the world can make a difference. Purchase your tickets online (thereís a link from or at the Science Station and prove to the larger community that yes, we do care about culture.

    Look up in the sky, itís a bird, itís a plane, no, itís an entire community that believes art and culture are important.
    Joe Jennison is executive director of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance, a group of more than 100 arts and culture organizations, including the Science Station.