New Pickford theater opening set for spring 2009


BELLINGHAM – Whatcom Community Foundation has donated $124,000 toward construction of the Pickford Film Center, which is now set to open in late spring.

The two-screen cinema is being built in a 100-year-old building at 1318 Bay St. that’s being renovated at a cost of a little more than $1.8 million.

Money will come from a $2.8 million capital campaign that the center has launched for construction and other costs such as fundraising, relocation and to pay back a loan.

pickford_BHTax-deductible donations to build the new Pickford Film Center may be made by going to the nonprofit’s Web site at and clicking on “Donate Now” from the left menu bar. Or send donations for the nonprofit organization to P.O. Box 2521, Bellingham, WA 98227. Make sure checks have been designated for “Pickford Film Center Campaign.”

So far, the campaign has raised about $1.8 million through pledges, grants and donations.

Alice Clark, executive director of Pickford Film Center, said Whatcom Community Foundation’s donation “will help take us down the home stretch of our capital campaign.”

The foundation is a charitable organization that gives out grants.

“If people like what we’re doing, this is the time to step up and help us finish this campaign so we can stay on track with our construction schedule and get it done,” Clark said. “It’s the people’s theater. It’s going to be built by and for the people.”

The current theater – The Pickford Cinema – opened in downtown Bellingham in 1998 by a group of film-lovers working to keep independent cinema alive in the area.

When completed, the new Pickford center will have two theaters – one that seats 90 people and another that seats 145.

The existing cinema on Cornwall Avenue has only one theater that brings in an average of 125 people per day. The new cinema will be able to triple that number by bringing in 300 to 500 people.

The center’s other offerings will include a cafĂ©, a space for meetings, central lobby for arts events and a larger concession stand.