Rhonda Abend plans to just listen when she meets with Carson City School District superintendent Richard Stokes to discuss the school system’s arts programs.
The director of the Carson City Classic Cinema Club is hoping to find out what holes there are in the arts curriculum and what the club can do to help.
That’s been Abend’s goal from the beginning when she founded the film group in 2014 — to use her love of classic movies to bring the arts to kids in need.
It all started when Abend, involved with the former Mentor Center, visited Ron Woods Family Resource Center and learned about the issue of homeless and transitional children.
“It just shocked me. I had no idea,” said Abend. “I left that night in tears and vowed to find a way to help these kids.”
It took a couple of years, but a friend who had turned a fly fishing club into a conservation group, too, gave her the idea.
“That’s when it hit me. I could use that format and take out fishing and put in classic movies,” said Abend.
The club started with a showing of the James Cagney classic “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at the Sassafras restaurant, when it was on Carson Street.
“It was the night they found out they lost their lease,” said Abend.
But, eight people attended and five signed up to join the club.
The club moved to the Pizza Factory for six months, then to Red’s Old 395 Grill for a year, until it outgrew that space, too.
Now the club calls the Brewery Arts Center’s Performance Hall home, where it shows classic movies on the first Tuesday of each month.
The club now has 45 members who get free admission and a say in the choice of movies each month.
Each month is a different genre — January is action/adventure, for example — and Abend finds a handful of films available in the public domain then sends out a ballot to members to decide the winning choice.
The monthly event, which is open to the public, includes popcorn and discussion, raffles and trivia, too.
Every year the club holds its Hollywood Gala dinner at the Gold Dust West as its main fundraiser.
There its Carson Art Studies Trust — CAST — awards are given out.
This year at its July gala it gave $300 to the Eagle Valley Middle School music program. The year before it provided two local 13-year-old girls dance lessons for a year, donated by the dance school, Western Nevada Performing Arts Center. Before that, it had paid for the girls to attend a three-day boot camp for the performing arts.
And the club recently purchased instrument tuners to be shared by the high school and middle schools.
The club continues to expand its programming, too.
On Sept. 28, it will host its first outdoor movie, a showing of “Swiss Family Robinson” at the McFadden Plaza, and hopes to do monthly outdoor events next year.
“It’s also part of our mission,” said Abend. “Strengthening community through community events.”