Connect with us

Local News

Billings’ Art House Cinema and Pub celebrates its grand reopening



Billings, Montana – The Art House Cinema and Pub held its grand reopening on Thursday night, following months of construction, and it is finally operational. The public was able to tour the new venue during the occasion, and on Friday the theater will formally open for movie screenings.

Maggie Arbuckle has long supported and patronized the Art House; during the big reopening celebration, she even had the opportunity to see her name listed among the benefactors.

“It’s delightful to see the Art House growing. When it started, my husband and I immediately thought, we love to support independent movie theater, so it’s been a super nice opportunity for Billings to have a theater like this,” says Arbuckle.

“I’m really excited to see this place open back up,” says Jack Klein, a fan of the Art House since it opened in 2018.

That was the overriding emotion on preview night on Thursday.

“The different sizes of theaters, different seating in different places, food on sight, the full pub that’s here now. It’s been a great gathering place, but now I think it’s going to be a fantastic gathering place,” says Klein.

As an Art House volunteer, Darren Paulson was pleased with the outcome.

“When it first opened up, my wife and I started volunteering behind the bar and serving and cleaning up afterwards. And we even helped with the demolition, preparing it for the new phase 2. And so to see this house filled with people from the community is super exciting. I’m so thrilled for them,” says Paulson.

For Matt Blakeslee, the creator and executive director, and his staff, the reopening has been long overdue.

“Eight years ago, we launched Art House Cinema, which was that small little theater, and that was always a beta test for this really grand, big vision we’ve always had to open this place,” says Blakeslee.

The Art House has grown to include three distinct theaters, a pub, and a restaurant. Originally, it was just one room with 45 chairs, a screen, and a bar.

Theater 1, the largest room, includes a moving screen that reveals a stage and 100 chairs. 47 specially designed chairs in Theater 2 are readily movable to accommodate events. About 60 individuals can find seats in the third theater.

The building at 109 N. 30th St. was once home to Center Lanes, a well-liked bowling alley in Billings, before Art House purchased it. After construction, Blakeslee and his group made sure to preserve some of those components.

“These bar tops and in Theater 2 are actually bowling lanes from Center Lanes that one of our board members was able to rehab and were able to hang up. So, we’re so excited to carry that bowling alley tradition into this theater.”

Blakeslee has known for eight years that home is the only place that genuinely compares.

“There’s huge support here in members and donors and sponsors, and we’re so grateful for all of them because this truly is a community space. It’s not just me or a small team. It truly is Billings stepping up to see this happen,” says Blakeslee.

It’s a place where people in downtown Billings can see movies, eat, and socialize with one another.

“I’m just delighted to be here. It’s exciting. And I’m coming here on Sunday with my girlfriends to see a movie now that it’s open,” says Arbuckle.

For many years to come, people will still congregate at The Art House, which has silver screens and bowling alleys.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *