DeAnn Johnson can still remember the first film that played at what is now the Logan Arthouse and Cinema - a black-and-white picture about LDS leader Brigham Young.

It was 1976 and her father, H.C. Heninger, had just converted his pawn shop business into a movie theater, though he also hoped to bring in other arts like theater and live music.

That dream got bogged down in red tape, but it's now being realized by the venue's new owners -Jonathan, James and Joseph Ribera - who held an open house Sunday to showcase the remodeled space.

The event drew about 70 people who watched the season finale of the popular TV series "Lost" on the big screen.

"I am so glad that someone has taken this place and done something good with it," Johnson said, looking around the theater. "There is a need for something like this. It's good to know that the arts are going to be acknowledged. This is what Dad always wanted."

Already popular bands, comedy groups and Utah State University theater students have expressed an interest in booking shows at the arthouse, which should officially open in June when it receives the proper city permits.

Independent films will still make an appearance, providing an outlet for fans of the arty fare that doesn't make it into the multiplex.

"Everywhere I've lived there has been an art district, and I feel like here we are craving one," said Jonathan Ribera. "There will be a variety of things - there will be something for everybody."

James added that he envisions the venue as a place where people who might feel out of place in Cache Valley can find a sense of community.

"A remarkable number of people want this," he said. "It's a great reward for the work we've put in."

The three brothers have spent months renovating what was formerly the Logan Art Cinema, which closed in October 2009 after its owner, Westates Theatres, decided they couldn't keep pouring money into the business.

With a broader array of offerings and local ownership, the Riberas feel confident the Logan Arthouse and Cinema will fare better than its predecessor.

Utah State University theater student Nikki Baum echoed that view.

The Nibley native used to see nearly every film that came to the Logan Art Cinema, but said the crowd often numbered 10 people or fewer.

"It wasn't recognized as being as much of a treasure as I thought it was," said Baum, who set up a "Save the Art Cinema" Facebook page last year. "But I think people are ready to support this place. It'll be an outlet for artists in the community."




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