Fine Arts Theatre
36 Biltmore Avenue,
36 Biltmore Avenue,Asheville, NC 28801
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This theater is amazing. They are following Covid protocols checking vaccinations and not selling tickets at full capacity.
Great locally owned theater that shows art fare documentaries and not mainstream blockbusters. They close the curtains ( both theaters are vertical top to bottom) at the end of each movie and they do the slide show for about 15 minutes or less than lower the curtains again before each film starts. Both theaters have masking that is at the top of screen and comes down for scope presentations.
Here is an item about the Strand from the July 18, 1946 issue of The Film Daily:
December 13th, 1996 grand opening ad also in the photo section.
October 24th, 1946 grand opening ad as Strand as well as the June 8th, 1962 grand opening as Fine Arts in the photo section.
Chuck 1231 I think the Asheville film festival is in Oct. It was last year. A note this theater has started showing slides, but still use the curtains about 5 minutes before the start of a film and at the end of a film. Very nice compromise.
Theater was converted to digitall the first week of August.
It will be interesting to see if this theater will add digital projection or fold. I hope they invest and add the digital.
Patsy, there was an earlier Strand Theatre in Asheville, from 1915 to about 1935, but it was on Patton Avenue. It was renamed the State Theatre in the 1930s.
Was the Strand originally on College?
The theatre is independently owned.
In the mid 90’s I was involved in the installation of the new projection and sound equipment for the renovation of the theatre. The interior was completely removed and replaced with new seating, lobby and updated restrooms. A new projection room was added for the main auditorium while the existing booth was used for the balcony auditorium. A stage was added to the main auditorium for live performance events. Stage curtains were implemented in both auditoriums.
Jan 6 1980 NOW PLAYING is “MYSTIQUE” and “DUTCH GIRLS” All Films X- rated.
NOW SHOWING FINE ARTS Jan 13 1980
EXOTIC FRENCH FANTASIES plus PEACH FUZZ. no one under 18 admitted. Admission $4.00 Couples $6.00 and get this written on the ad in the Ashville paper,,,, MALES AND FEMALES only as couples.
ADULT FILM LADIES WELCOME. Box office opens at 12;45 continuous shows from 1p.m. til 10;45 p.m. WOW. This town that let Ashville’s IMPERIAL be torn down, for THE FINE ARTS i would be afraid to sit in a seat there.
And from Boxoffice on October 26, 1946: “Printed invitations were sent by H.B. Meiselman and Phil Berler for the opening of the new Strand Theatre at Asheville on Thursday, October 24, reported to have been a successful affair.”
From an article about Meiselman Theatres in the October 27, 1945, issue of Boxoffice: “Meiselman also announced a contract for the construction of the Strand Theatre on Biltmore Ave. at Eagle St. had been let to the Merchant Construction Company. He expressed the hope that the theatre will be ready for a New Year’s opening. The house will have 800 seats, with a 300-seat balcony set aside for Negroes.
An amazing comeback from the porno haven it once was.
A 1986 view of the Fine Arts Theater in Asheville.
Here is an undated photo:
This was owned by E. M. Loew’s of Boston. It was the only theatre owned by E. M. Loew’s (no relations with Loew’s) in the state.
The Strand Theatre is listed with a seating capacity of 800 in the 1950 edition of Film Daily Yearbook.
Here is a photo circa late 70s:
Sorry, wrong theater. I posted the link in the Waynesville listing.
I love this theater and I think it’s the best movie going experience in the Carolinas. I like that it’s independently owned and operated with a great selection of art films. They sell beer and wine along with the regular concession fare and it has a great urban setting. Although it’s not ornate or large it is architecturally charming and well maintained. The staff is hip and it looks like they actually enjoy working there. I like lining up on the city sidewalks beforehand and spilling out onto a vibrant street scene afterwards.