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A historic downtown Jasper theatre will soon be under new ownership and an endowment has been establish for the facility.

Next Act, Inc., today announced that it has raised the necessary funds to purchase the former Astra Theater.

The group held a gathering at the 78-year old building this morning to announce it is finalizing a purchase agreement with the building’s current owner and is targeting December 1 as the completion date.

The Astra was built in 1937 by Bernie Gutzweiler and was currently owned by his son Jerry.  The theatre closed in 2002 but in recent years has hosted several events.

The 501c3 not-for-profit began efforts to raise money just over one year ago.  An initial $300,000 was raised to create an endowment within the Dubois County Community Foundation, the yearly proceeds of which will be used for utilities, insurance, and routine maintenance.

An additional amount, now nearing $200,000, was raised to purchase the building, as well as provide seed money for a more public fundraising campaign designed to assist with ADA-compliance and renovation needs.

Marc Steczyk, Board President for Next Act says this campaign Known as phase 2, will launch early in 2016.

Among the many sizable contributions to the cause, there were three milestone investments:

First, the Dubois County Community Foundation  challenged Next Act to raise an initial $200,000 and, when complete, it then granted the organization $1 for every $2 that were raised, capping their gift at an even $100,000.

The Friends of the Arts, a Jasper-based 501c3 charged with promoting and encouraging a better understanding of the arts within Dubois County, granted Next Act $50,000.

On the private side, former Kimball international President and CEO Jim Thyen and his Pat invested $100,000 into Next Act’s journey to save the Astra, making them by far the largest private contributor in this cause.

In honor of the Thyen’s commitment and belief in their cause, Next Act, Inc., also revealed today that it was naming the Astra’s stage “The Jim and Pat Thyen Performance Stage”.  Signage is being created at this time, and once complete, the 4’x2’ recognition plaque will be affixed to the front of the stage.

Steczyk says with their investment the Thyens showed a belief and trust in the group and their work from the beginning.  He says it a belief and trust that will always cherish and will always honor by doing the right thing for not only the Astra, but arts and culture in all of Dubois County.

Next Act, Inc., was established a year ago initially as a group whose primary interest was to save, revive, and revitalize the Astra Theater in downtown Jasper.

The group soon determined that the best and only feasible route to begin the long march toward achieving their lofty goal was to form a not-for-profit 501c3.

In doing so, the Next Act was born and it became increasingly clear to its founding members that the organizational mission was far greater than the Astra project.

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