August 1, 2014

 Odean GrantThe Odeon Preservation Association (OPA) will be able to purchase and install LED stage lighting for Mason’s historic Odeon Theater with the help of a $24,000 community development grant.

The Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Mason provided the grant to OPA to help reduce the theater’s energy consumption by upgrading the theater’s stage lighting system from conventional to LED.

Built in 1928, the Odeon Theater is the oldest continuously operating movie theater in West Texas. It is the only movie theater serving Mason, McCulloch and Menard counties. More than 18,000 people attend first-run movies, symposiums and live performances at the theater every year. The next closest movie theater is more than 100 miles away.

“When a group of us formed the nonprofit 20 years ago and bought the aging theater, it needed a great deal of improvement to safely continue its movie operations,” said Spider Johnson, president of OPA. “This grant will vastly enhance our current music concerts on the new stage and also pave the way for live theater, which has been pending due to poor current lighting conditions.”

The grant will pay for a new energy-efficient 48-fixture LED stage lighting system that will provide controlled lighting, radiate less heat and reduce energy use. The LED lighting will enhance the theater experience for patrons and entertainers. Having the LED system gives OPA an opportunity to educate audience members, volunteers, donors and the public about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation.

“The LED system will reduce electricity use as well as create less heat than our existing bank of floodlights, reducing air conditioning costs,” Johnson said. “Community theater can become a reality in our small town, encouraging participation and enjoyment on many levels.”

The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to local governments and nonprofit groups such as civic organizations, schools, volunteer fire departments, libraries, emergency medical services, museums and historical associations in LCRA’s electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. The City of Mason is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.