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The Orpheum Theater is part of a sound educational strategy

Bob Untiedt

Bob Untiedt

By Bob Untiedt

An important part of the Iowa Valley Community College District’s current strategic plan is this core value: Partnerships – We believe in constructing effective alliances to create educational opportunities, strengthen our communities, and foster economic development.

Current Orpheum partners include three different daycare centers, every elementary school in town, the YMCA/YWCA, the Central Business District, the Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, a dozen downtown businesses (for summer and winter sponsored movies) and others. Programs associated with these partners were:

  • free movies for every elementary school kid (public and private) in Marshalltown,
  • engagement of the Iowa Children’s Museum with daycares,
  • free concerts for veterans at IVH (last year involving 200+ persons),
  • Festival of Trees (with CBD), and many more!

We believe that arts and culture strengthen the broader Marshalltown community by offering free things. Altogether in 2017, that included 25 different movies, poetry, dance, and music events to nearly 5,000 people. These cultural opportunities connect us more tightly to Marshalltown. They add beauty and art to our lives, and are a part of a long-time history and commitment to arts in this community.

There are direct educational activities which happen at the Orpheum, too. Dance and poetry events are more obviously educational in their setup, but we are having a Peruvian band which will engage Marshalltown Community College students this fall in education around Peruvian dance and other cultures. The Iowa Children’s Museum provided an educational curriculum to 60 kids in a visit here last year. There is some broad cultural education from every kind of art, and this learning is important, too.

And we’ve been thanked by local restaurants for our Live After 5 series of events, which has helped their sales. We book around 40 hotel rooms per year for artists … and we  know we’ve had people here from Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines, among other places. These people are buying gas, some are staying overnight, many are eating here.

In short, the Orpheum Theater does a lot to partner with local businesses and non-profits, provide educational activities, and positively impact this community and economic development. We hope to see even more people attend our events this year (we had just under 8,900 total event attendees in 2017), and we look forward to being an important part of the strategic focus of the College for years to come.

Bob Untiedt is the Director of the IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center. He can be reached at Bob.Untiedt@iavalley.edu.

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