The Bohm Theater is an anticipated addition to the Albion downtown district. Andrea Walles, The Woodlands, Texas, junior, is currently interning at the theater for the Spring 2014 semester. She is working with the Albion Community Foundation and The Friends of the Bohm to help them make decisions regarding what services and products the theater will provide in relation to the student’s wants. The Pleiad spoke with her regarding her internship and how it ties the college and community together.
The Pleiad: What is your major and how does it tie into your work at The Bohm?
Walles: My major is economics and management, and I have a minor in Political Science. I am in Gerstacker, Ford and Honors. I am helping The Bohm with everything. I am learning how business plans work and how to actually implement them in a non-profit start-up. I am creating a marketing plan for them, a social media plan and then helping them to decide on pretty much anything that comes about as far as making decisions for the theater. I’m helping their relations between the students of the college and the theater, so the students actually get what they want in the theatre, as far as if they like Coke or Pepsi [to] what kind of programming they want to see. The Bohm is going to have both movies and actual live events, so I’m helping the Community Foundation decide what college students would actually go and see.
What are some specific live events we can expect to see?
Comedians, lecturers, chamber music or film series.
How are you involved in the Albion Community Foundation?
A group of people got together with plans to refurbish the Bohm. They called themselves Friends of The Bohm [FOTB], they are the people that actually own building. According to their website, FOTB is a Michigan Nonprofit Corporation. The Board Chair for FOTB, Elizabeth Schultheiss, is the director of the Albion Community Foundation [ACF]. Elizabeth worked with the ACF, and they backed a lot of the grants that The Bohm got. I actually work in the ACF, but I work only on specific Bohm related projects. They are an overseer and a backer for insurance.
What is a regular day on the job like? What are you working towards?
I sit in on any meetings with contractors or the construction managers. I usually have a meeting or two a day. I do a lot of internet research, as far as comparing with other theaters and figuring out what they do and the services that they have. I also have to talk individually with each of the board members of the FOTB… to make the final decisions where I then present it at the Board Meetings. Additionally, I take pictures every week and I post them on the Facebook page.
How do you see this as an extension of college-community relations?
I think that the theater, once it is actually renovated, it will foster growth between the college and the community. There will be a lot of community members [at The Bohm] and I think that right now the students go out to Marshall – that doesn’t make anybody really interact with the actual community members. Everyone that I’ve talked to about it at the college is really excited about the theater reopening because it is local, and it will be free for students. But everyone in the community is also really excited, because having The Bohm back downtown will revitalize growth in that area, and hopefully it will actually get students to walk from there to all the businesses that are around, and possibly new ones will open.
How can other students get involved in with helping with The Bohm?
We are working on possibly doing student volunteers for when it opens. We are looking into doing Work-Study Programs. The biggest issue we have right now is fundraising, so there aren’t a lot of ways for students to get involved, besides working on that. We still have $900,000 that we need to raise. It ended up being a much bigger project than what we thought because of different codes. They have a loan to cover that money, but they would prefer not to use. They have already raised $2.2 million for it, and that’s without any loans. My job is to raise both money and awareness about the project in the college. Donations of even $5 or $10 really helps go towards covering some sort of cost.
What groups on campus have expressed interest in fundraising?
Student Senate has already pledged two seats. Right now the biggest campaign we have is the “Name a Seat Campaign.” It is $500 for a seat, and you get the name of your organization on the back of it. Student Senate is putting $1,000 towards that. TKE has also expressed interest in raising money, and then the Greek Community itself. I’m always looking for organizations that would want to help raise money.
In what ways will students be able to utilize The Bohm besides just going to see movies?
There is already a concert scheduled for 2015 by a well-known country singer. He is doing a tour across the country performing without a fee at old-historic movie theaters, and all the tickets sales go to the theater. All the theaters will be featured in a documentary.
The expected opening day is Dec. 24, 2014. The Bohm will be open to students the second semester of the 2014-15 school year. Admission will be free for Albion College students.
Photo courtesy of Friends of The Bohm Theatre