Small Star, big House: York finds the art scene in Small Star

Lancaster has Zoetropolis. Harrisburg has Midtown Cinema. But when it comes to indie film and art centers, what about York?

Patti Stirk asked the same question. Then answered it, too.

The result? Small Star Art House, the latest fixture to York’s growing arts scene.

Founded by Stirk, Small Star is located on 232 W. Market Street near the heart of downtown York. The 22-seat micro-theater screening room will run matinee and evening shows Thursday through Sunday. The theater’s adjacent space is a retail arts gallery featuring the work of more than 30 York artists.

“York really needed first-run independent films to prevent everyone from driving to Baltimore to see great new films and go to dinner there,” said Stirk, a resident of York (and devoted film buff).

The screening room offers a more intimate experience than larger surrounding theaters. And plans for future beer tastings, food topics and film discussions are in the works.

We chatted with Stirk about WeCo, indie film and all things York to get the inside story behind Small Star.

Reminder: first screening starts today at 3pm, then 5:30p, and 7:30p through Sunday.First volunteer at SMALL STAR, Mary Ann Cullen, thanks Mary Anne!

Posted by SMALL STAR Art House on Thursday, March 10, 2016

KO: What was your motivation to create Small Star Art House? 
We had the office space vacant since April.  We’re located just over the bridge in the new neighborhood WeCo (west of Codorus) and just started thinking about how we could help with that neighborhood development effort.

KO: Part theater and part gallery, this space sounds truly unique. Tell me more about that.
We like to refer to it as an Art House with a 22 person screening room.  The space is shaped like a “U” – so you walk into the art gallery side where various types of art from 30 different York artists is on display and for sale.  Carmen Walsh curates the art space along with Rachael Scott, and we all show our own work in the gallery.

KO: What’s the story behind the name of the theater?  
I had my technology firm, STAR SYSTEMS ENGINEERING, INC. in this space since 2004.  One of the famous historic families in York are named Small. Phillip Albright, and Samuel Small started: York College, York Hospital, Children’s Home of York, and created so much industry in York. Our screening room space is small. It’s just a nod to the Small family and all they did for York, and my old company.

KO: What popular York venues is Small Star close to?
Fine dining venue such as Blue Moon Cafe, Underground West, and Roosevelt Tavern in WeCo, and White Rose Bar and Grill just across the bridge.  We’re also huge fans or I-ron-ic coffee shop and art gallery. They’ve helped spread the word about Small Star.

KO: Tell me more about your gallery curator Carmen Walsh and other featured artists.
A writer and editor in her day job, she makes all the decisions on what pieces come into our space. Carmen has a stand at Central Market and was ready to step up to a bigger space with walls.  Small Star boasts 30 York artist creating in mediums such as furniture, painting, jewelry, sculpture, clothing, and photography.  Carmen created a brand – – which has become hugely popular and a symbol of York’s downtown renaissance.

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Posted in Articles, Arts+Culture, Arts+Culture – York, Headlines, Out & About, Out & About – York, York, York Headlines

Kim O'Brien is a freelance writer for Fly Magazine. In past lives she was a sports reporter, camp director and restaurant equipment writer, all of which somehow led to her current gig as a marketing copywriter. Secret talents include classical piano and fashioning MacGyver-esque car repairs for her trusty ol' Jeep.

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