GAMBIER, Ohio — The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox
County has granted $75,000 to make the renovated Buckeye Candy building a
hub for film production.
The foundation allotted $63,000 from
its general fund and $12,000 from its Harold C. and Roberta C. Johnson
Fund to buy equipment for Kenyon College’s growing film program, which
launched in 2011 and is slated to occupy the top two floors of the
former warehouse building at 400 S. Main St.
Foundation has a decade-long record of support for repurposing vacant
downtown landmarks through higher education partnerships. The Kenyon on
Main initiative is the latest of these efforts that has literally
reimagined downtown Mount Vernon," said Sam Barone, executive director
of the foundation.
The money will go toward a green screen and
editing, color, and sound production equipment. While the priority for
the space will be Kenyon students, plans also are underway to offer
video production workshops to Knox County high school students. The goal
is to teach them creative and technical skills that will inspire them
to pursue production careers and give them an advantage when applying to
college film programs.
Kenyon also hopes to rent the production
facility to filmmakers during summer months by marketing the facility to
state and regional film commissions and to companies that make
commercials. Charging a daily rate instead of charging for each piece of
equipment will emphasize the low cost of working in Knox County.
economic benefits could be sizeable. For example, the filming of
“Liberal Arts” on the Kenyon campus resulted in more than $680,000 spent
in Ohio. Between 2009 and 2012, there were 27 film productions in Ohio,
ranging from feature films to television episodes, that spent a total
of $73.1 million in the state.
Barone said, "From feature
filmmaking to a more expansive home for the Science Play-Space
Initiative to the college’s Office for Community Partnerships, there is
much for Knox County to anticipate in Kenyon's historic expansion in
downtown Mount Vernon."
Work on renovating the 18,000-square-foot
building began this month. Most of the first floor will be the new home
to the Science Play-Space Initiative, known as SPI Spot. Kenyon
acquired the building in May thanks to the support of the Ariel
Foundation and the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox
County and gifts from private donors.
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