2011-03-10 / Business News

North County’s art cinema books a new owner

ALIVE AND INDEPENDENT
By Scott Simmons


and J. R. Coley, son Taige Mills, infant Quinn Coley mom Erin Coley will make owning Lake Park’s Mos’Art Theatre a family affair. 
SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY and J. R. Coley, son Taige Mills, infant Quinn Coley mom Erin Coley will make owning Lake Park’s Mos’Art Theatre a family affair. SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY Mos’Art Theatre may be one of northern Palm Beach County’s best-kept secrets. New owner Erin Coley aims to change that.

Mrs. Coley, who took over the Lake Park theater on March 1, said she hopes to expand its indie cinema fare to include performances and classes by her Standing Ovation performing arts studio, based in Boynton Beach.

Standing Ovation offers weekly themed summer acting camps, and offers classes in puppetry musical theater and production.

But doesn’t that overlap with other academies in the north end of the county, such as the Maltz Jupiter Theatre or Atlantic Arts?

“What we’re doing is a little different here,” says Mrs. Coley, a former high school teacher. “We build life skills.”


the The Mos’Art Theatre started out as home to Vintage Worship Gathering. The 150- seat theater also is a venue for independent dt and d foreign films, concerts and other performances. the The Mos’Art Theatre started out as home to Vintage Worship Gathering. The 150- seat theater also is a venue for independent dt and d foreign films, concerts and other performances. For the Coleys, Mos’Art is a family affair.

Her husband, J.R. Coley, is scene shop foreman at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Teenage son Taige Mills, a student at Suncoast High School, and daughter Tegan Mills, a student at Bak Middle School of the Arts, help out at Standing Ovations and at Mos’Art.

Their 9-month-old daughter, the mighty Quinn, crawls around the floor of the theater’s lobby and draws coos from patrons as they make their way to the concessions and into the theater.

“We thought if we bought the place, we could just develop the place locally,” she said. “It just made sense.”

And it would mesh well with what the theater already had going on.


“There are so many nooks and crannies,” says Mrs. Coley. “It’s just a great space. So many things can happen.happen.” “There are so many nooks and crannies,” says Mrs. Coley. “It’s just a great space. So many things can happen.happen.” “They already have a great staff here,” Mrs. Coley says. “Between my husband and I we have nights and weekends covered.”

Mrs. Coley already has learned to multitask, holding the baby with one hand as she programs the digital projector with the other.

But is there an audience?

The theater, founded in 2009 by Philip Dvorak and Albert Rossodivita, has changed hands twice. The most recent owner, Dan Burns, said he sold the placep so he can travel.

“The biggest challenge is just getting the word out about just how neat this place is,” says Mr. Burns. “We don’t have the budget these large movie theaters have. Every day we have people come in the door who can’t believe we’ve been here two years now.”

Emerging Pictures provides the theater with such independent and foreign films as “Vision,” about Hildegarde von Bingen, and opera broadcasts such as Placido Domingo inn “Rigoletto.” The theater also screened Academy Award-nominated shortss and a series of Charlie Chaplin films.

To draw more people in, Mr. Burns has been booking the space for live performances — a recent Sunday afternoon a concert by singer Adriana Zabala and comedian Timothy Hawkins dreww about 70 people, and the theater has hosted book signings, writing groups and such.

Not bad for a place that was only open weekends for church services.

Mr. Burns, along with Mr. Dvorak and Mr. Rossodivita, were part of a core group that created Vintage Worship Gathering, which held services in the space.

“Being in the space with the church is what sparked the idea of doing the theater,” Mr. Burns says. “It wasn’t beingg used throughout the week.”

The complex, which is rented, has about 10,000 square feet, with a lobby and 150-seat theater, then classrooms and offices upstairs. Mos’Art will continue to share space with Vintage Worship Gathering. Mos’Art’s name is taken from the name of the building’s owner, Sue Ellen Mosler.

Neither Mr. Burns nor Mrs. Coley would give financial details of the transaction, but Mr. Burns will help Mrs. Coley and family with the transition.

“I’m going to be here working with the theater until June,” he says. Then he is off to Costa Rica to do missionary work, such as repairing homes and schools and leading vacation Bible school.

Meanwhile, back in Lake Park, Mrs. Coley is looking ahead to the possibilities.

Such as? Tutoring through the performing arts. “Kids can learn through song and dance,” she says. “They can learn history by researching a figure from history then acting it out.” And she has been in talks with Art Van Gogh, a company that brings a mobile art studio to parties, schools and such, and Blue Planet Writers Room, which teaches writing to kids and adults. It’s all part of engaging the public. “I’d love to educate and get a conversation going.” 

in the know

Mos’Art Theatre is at 700 Park Ave., Lake Park; 337-6763; on the Web at www.mosarttheatre.com.

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