WATERVILLE — Art, music and the showing of a film about Burt’s Bees founder Burt Shavitz will be featured Saturday at an event to celebrate the new expanded lobby at Railroad Square Cinema.
The Maine Film Center, a nonprofit organization that owns the cinema, will host the event, which starts at 5:30 p.m. with Art in the Lobby, an exhibition featuring the works of Thom Klepach.
The art opening is free and open to the public. Tickets for the film and opening ceremony are $12 each or $10 for Maine Film Center members.
As part of the $125,000 expansion project, new and separate entrances were built for the cinema and Buen Apetito, a restaurant that leases space from the Film Center.
The restaurant was expanded to include more tables and a bar. The cinema lobby space was increased by about 25 percent and the concessions counter and ticket booth moved to be more user friendly.
“The lobby is going to be optimized for the art on the walls,” Cinema Manager Alan Sanborn said Thursday. “We’ll have a lot better display and lighting for the art. The open area will be seating where you can sit and talk about movies and enjoy the art.”
“It’s going to be club-like,” Sanborn said Thursday as he stood in the lobby, which features a gleaming tiled floor and freshly painted white walls.
The new entrance to the cinema features stamped concrete floors and a tall leaded glass window created by artist Stu Silverstein, a Railroad Square founder.
Sanborn, also a cinema founder, has been part of Railroad Square 36 years. He will give a personal history of the cinema during Saturday’s opening that will include 20 slides of events dating back to 1978. The three-screen movie theater features mainly independent movies.
Sanborn’s wife, Sam, is the cinema office manager. Ken Eisen is the cinema’s programmer.
“Saturday is a celebration of the new lobby but it’s also a way for us to say thank you to the people who have been coming all winter and were so patient with the construction,” said Shannon Haines, executive director of the Maine Film Center. “And it’s an opportunity, we hope, to welcome new visitors to the theater who may not have been here.”
Haines said the construction started in November and is complete, with the exception of some finishing touches. J.L. Cucci of Albion is the contractor for the project.
Haines and The Maine Film Center also hosts the annual Maine International Film Festival, which features more than 100 independent American and foreign-made films at the cinema and Waterville Opera House over 10 days in July. Writers, producers, actors and other film professionals interact with film-goers who attend the festival from all over the world.
On Saturday, Shavitz, a reclusive Maine beekeeper who reluctantly became the face of one of the world’s most recognizable brands, will attend the screening and answer questions afterward, according to Haines.
She describes the film as a humorous, authentic and compelling documentary about Shavitz’s remarkable double life.
Klepach, whose art show is entitled, “Echoes, Waxing Gibbous, Waning Crescent,” recently moved to Maine from Texas. He teaches, chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology at Colby College in Waterville and is a stay-at-home father with two young children. A musician, he will perform live at the opening.
“I like to create art inspired by my locality, all the while with more universal themes in mind,” Klepach said in a Film Center release. “Most — although not all of — these pieces are centered on people I have met and stories I have learned in the region over the past year-and-a-half.”
Barrels Community Market will cater the art opening. Anyone who wants more information on the event may visit the cinema’s website.