“Science on Screen” Returning to Salina

The nationwide “Science on Screen” series of movies and events is returning to Salina.

What does the cult horror/sci-fi  film “Tarantula” have to do with cutting edge science research? As a recent recipient of a $7,000 Science on Screen grant, the Salina Art Center Cinema will provide that answer in the first of a series of pairings of expert-led discussions of scientific topics with screenings of popular films starting in March, 2020.  The grant is one of 36 awarded by the Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to independent cinemas, museums, and community groups with film programs. The Art Center’s cinema is the only place in Kansas included in Science on Screen events.

The Salina  Art Center Cinema in downtown Salina will launch its 4th season of Science on Screen March 23, 2020, with the 1955 film “Tarantula” paired with a discussion about Spider Silk: An Ancient Biomaterial for the Future led by Dr. Randy Lewis, USTAR professor of biology in the Synthetic Biomanufacturing Center at Utah State University. A full slate of programming will be available in early 2020, and will include at least three films with expert-led discussion, all free and open to anyone.

Science on Screen is a nationwide initiative to promote scientific literacy through entertainment inspiring in audiences an increased appreciation for STEM topics—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Though STEM-related occupations are becoming an increasingly large (and well-paid) portion of the U.S. labor force, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States lags behind many other developed nations in scientific literacy. From celebrated Sloan-supported hits such as Hidden Figures and original indies such as The Sound of Silence to Sloan Prize-winning films such as The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and The Aeronauts, science can illuminate films just as films can illuminate science.

“By harnessing the entertainment power of film, Science on Screen offers a user-friendly introduction to complex STEM topics that might otherwise seem intimidating to moviegoers, and sparks inspiration to learn more,” says Katherine Tallman, Executive Director and CEO of the Coolidge Corner Theatre. “We are grateful for the Sloan Foundation’s ongoing support of this program, and we are proud to be part of its continued growth.”

Science on Screen grant recipients are chosen based on the need for science-related programming in their community, the strength of their proposed Science on Screen programs, the success of past Science on Screen programs, their geographic location, and their commitment to reaching diverse and underserved audiences.

Founded in 1978, the Salina Art Center is a private non-profit creating exchanges among art, artists, and audiences that reveal life. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Art Center’s galleries, Art Center Cinema, and Warehouse are located in the heart of downtown Salina, KS. Learn more online at www.salinaartcenter.org. The Salina Art Center’s exhibitions and programs are funded by Art Center donors and members, the Salina Arts & Humanities Grants Program, and the City of Salina.

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, is a non-profit philanthropy that makes grants for original research and education in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.   Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination.

The nonprofit Coolidge Corner Theatre is a premier American independent cinema renowned for its curated feature film programming and innovative signature educational, cultural, and entertainment programs.