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Memories in the Making
with The Strand Movie Series

by Cody Moore, photography by Audrey Poff

Before it was known as The Forum Theatre or as the home of The Foundation of Arts, the historic Downtown Jonesboro landmark was known as The Strand Theatre. To pay homage to the former theater, The Foundation of Arts has recently introduced The Strand Movie Series as part of its yearly programming.

Established in 1926, The Strand Theatre was once the largest movie theater in the Jonesboro area for more than 40 years. The Strand Theatre was later acquired by the City of Jonesboro and was renamed The Forum Theatre in 1978.

The Forum is currently home to The Foundation of Arts (FOA), a local nonprofit organization that focuses on enhancing quality of life through the arts. Each month, The FOA hosts community theater productions, live music, community rentals and arts classes on location at The Forum.

Kristi Pulliam, who has served as the executive director of The FOA for six years, is ecstatic to bring back the history of The Strand Theatre through The Strand Movie Series.

“We have shown movies and hosted movie series at The Forum, on and off, for years,” said Pulliam. “But, we had the idea after listening to people come into the theater and tell us stories about when they would visit The Strand Theatre. … Many people visited this theater and have memories of their time here.”

With an abundance of requests to show movies at The Forum, Pulliam and The FOA staff decided that it would not only be a good idea to host a consecutive movie series, but also an opportunity to inform the community of the theater’s history.

“It’s important for all of us to know something of the history of our community,” said Pulliam. “We want to give the community a taste of nostalgia for days gone by, while also providing a low-cost evening for people who want to make great memories with each other.”

Though The Strand Movie Series is a part of The FOA’s yearly programming, it doesn’t play as large of a role as its theater productions, arts classes or live performances do.

“Our mission at The FOA is to provide the arts and arts experiences to everyone who is interested,” said Pulliam. “Live music, professional performances, community theater, arts education and outreach programming of all kinds take a lot more of The FOA’s attention; however, we like to take a break every once in a while with a great movie.”

The Strand Movie Series consists of five movies this season and occurs once every other month. The event is free for the public to attend, though The FOA does accept donations during the event.

“All movies shown in The Strand Movie Series are free for the public,” said Pulliam. “If anyone can afford a small donation to The FOA to help defray the costs, that’s always needed, but if not, just come make some memories. … That’s our goal.”

For the month of December, The FOA will show the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” in honor of the holiday season.
“Who doesn’t love ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ during the holidays?” asked Pulliam. “It’s a movie tradition my own family has passed down for generations. It has a great message and provides an opportunity to make great memories together.”

In addition to The Strand Movie Series, The FOA also has an array of arts classes and other festive events that will occur this month.

“The FOA has all kinds of arts experiences to take part in,” said Pulliam. “There’s a lot happening every month for The FOA.

“In December, we have our winter session of classes beginning on Dec. 3, where we offer ballet, art and theater classes that run for three weeks in December and another three weeks in January. The winter session classes are fairly new to The FOA but are growing in popularity.”
Registration forms for The FOA’s spring arts classes are currently available, with those sessions beginning in January 2020.

The FOA will also present its First Fridays at The Forum Concert Series with a performance from The Fullness of Joy Singers on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. The FOA’s December theater production, “A Holiday Blast: An FOA Music Show,” will be held Dec. 13-16 at The Forum Theatre, as well.

The remaining films that will be shown during the current season of The Strand Movie Series include “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Dec. 21, “50 First Dates” on Feb. 14, “The Passion of the Christ” on April 10 and “Pearl Harbor” on May 22.

For more information on The Strand Movie Series, The FOA’s arts classes or to purchase tickets for The FOA’s upcoming events, visit foajonesboro.org or call The Forum Box Office at (870) 935-2726.