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Art Mission and Theater to Close in Binghamton

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

The Art Mission and Theater will close its doors on Friday, December 29 after entertaining the community for 10 years. The non-profit organization's Executive Director, Rebecca Sheriff says keeping the theater open is no longer sustainable.

"With our overhead, the economy here, and the current streaming culture of movies," said Sheriff. She says popular video streaming services like Netflix are showing more independent films than ever before which means fewer people are leaving their homes to see them at the theater.

Sheriff says the organization has also gone into debt in part due to the fact that the movie distributors take nearly 50% of all ticket sales. 

"Operating solely as a movie theater and an art gallery, it's hard to keep up with that and keep operations going," said Sheriff.

Many of those who attend the theater regularly say they were disappointed when they found out that the theater was closing this week.

"I'm very sorry to hear it...I think it played a very important part in the community and I'll miss it and I'm sure a lot of people will miss it," said Phil Goodman, Art Mission and Theater Volunteer.

Others don't know where they'll be able to see unique, local, and independent films in the area anymore.

"I'm very disappointed. It's one of the only places where we can see movies that are a little bit more unusual and not in the mainstream," said Suzanne Brigham, who attends the theater.

"It's very disappointing, it's saddening. Anytime a supportive environment that closes...it's one less thing to enrich the neighborhood," said William Brigham, who also attends the theater.

Organizers don't know what's next for the space or who will take over but everyone says they hope a similar type of theater comes into the building located at 61 Prospect Ave.

"I really hope that another organization in the community will have some indie movie programming as part of their overall services," said Sheriff.

"I'd like to see something to fulfill the same purpose that the Art Mission has been fulfilling for a long time now and this will be a big empty spot for Binghamton," said Goodman.

Sheriff says the last showing will be Follies by Stephen Sondheim at 7:00 p.m.