Published: Nov 03, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Nov 03, 2012 09:54 AM
APEX - Mix in two lovable computer-animated monsters and a toddler and what do you get? Maybe the attention of dozens of parents and youngsters.
At least that’s what the staff of the Halle Cultural Arts Center are hoping.
The Halle is hosting a series of free movies throughout hte fall as part of an ongoing effort to draw more visitors to the arts center. Over the past few months, the Apex Town Council has been scrutinizing the center’s programming and looking for ways to bring in more patrons.
The bi-monthlymovies, which began last month, are already a success, said Renee Anderson, programs and marketing specialist for the Halle.
Each of last month’s viewings drew up to 50 visitors, she said. On Tuesday, “Monsters, Inc.” will be shown.
“We are actually getting people in here,” Anderson said. “These are new faces, and they are ‘liking’ us on Facebook.”
Parents can bring their children to see a movie at 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.
“That’s a time frame when we don’t get a lot of kids who are in school. It’s hard to program for that time,” Anderson said. “So we decided to look at what we could do for pre-schoolers.”
Most of the Halle’s programs start in the afternoon and span the evenings and weekends, when children are out of school and families can take advantage of the art shows, classes, musical performances and exhibits.
Anderson has tried to reach out to parents of young children and homeschoolers to fill some of the daytime scheduling slots.
“As a mom, I know people are looking to find things to do outside the home with other families,” she said. “There’s always parks, but it’s nice to vary it up.”
Before each movie, the Halle’s staff shares information about upcoming events at the center.
Anderson said she hopes the movies will help local businesses.
“It starts at 10 a.m., and if you are meeting another family, by the time it lets out you can go eat at Anna’s (Pizzeria) or Salem Street Pub,” she said.
Apex Councilman Bill Jensen has been behind the push to get more use out of the Halle. During budget talks, Jensen said he worried the town was subsidizing the cost of the center while it was underused.
The Halle costs about $244,000 a year to operate. Last fiscal year, the center brought in about $56,000 in revenue, and the town covered the rest.
On average, the Halle sees about 1,800 visitors a month, according to the town. The parks and recreation advisory board is looking at more ideas on how to boost the number of visitors.
Several questions about the Halle’s programming are on the town’s online parks and recreation survey. The survey is available at www.apexparksplan.com; the deadline to complete the survey is Nov. 21.