In just one year, from 2010 to 2011, they went from showing foreign and independent films at the Brickhouse Brewery to establishing an art house cinema just up the street.
The two neon marquises mounted this month above the Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center on Terry Street in Patchogue is a sign of that remarkable accomplishment.
They’re also signals to passersby that an art house cinema actually exists in the ground floor of the Artspace building.
“Traditionally, art houses are on Main Street, but we’re tucked away,” said Catherine Oberg, who co-founded the Plaza MAC with her partner, Campbell Dalglish. “So it was really important that people walking from Main Street can see the sign lit up and know that we’re here.”
The co-founders got much help, back in 2010 and ever since, from very many financial supporters, many of whom were on hand Tuesday night to celebrate the lighting of the marquises.
Bellport actress and fimmaker Isabella Rossellini was among those supporters in attendance.
“I kept going back to New York City to see films that were foreign, or classic, or not mainstream and commercial, yet still very interesting and artistic,” Rossellini said. “I am delighted, because I live 10 minutes away, and so I supported this from the beginning.”
Window monitors have also been installed to showcase upcoming shows.
The monitors and the two marquises, combined with the cinema seats that were installed last year — $36,000 in all — came as the result of the theater’s second big capital fundraiser.
The first campaign resulted in a digital cinema system.
“That allowed us to become a first-run cinema,” Oberg said. “Meaning we can run movies within two weeks after they are first screened in New York or Los Angeles.”
Before a short film presentation Tuesday night, which was followed by proclamations from the state and the village, as well as a ribbon cutting outside, Dalglish addressed the audience, many of whom gave generously in the effort to establish such a place in central Suffolk County.
“In 2009 our community gathered to tear down a blight on East Main Street, the old Plaza cinema,” he said. “Tonight we have successfully resurrected that gathering place and turned it into a glowing light right here in downtown Patchogue …
“May we continue to show the world what a small community can do to turn things around.”