Starting this weekend, you won't have to go up to Harrisburg or down to Baltimore to catch the latest indie flick or offbeat movie.

The Small Star Art House at 232 W. Market St., York City, which contains a 20-seat viewing room and an art gallery, will open up in time for First Friday festivities this week, according to Patti Stirk, who's behind the project.

The genesis of the project came from Stirk thinking about why she and her friends leave the city.

"We pile in a car and go down to Baltimore and watch movies," she said.

And often, it's to see the kind of movies you don't find at big theaters around the area. She likes more alternative-type flicks, from indie dramas to documentaries .

It's those types of movies the Small Star Art House, will play. This Friday — March's First Friday — it opens with showings of "King Georges," a documentary by Erika Frankel about Georges Perrier, a Frenchman who opened up a Philadelphia restaurant called Le Bec-Fin, which as one point was considered among the best French restaurants in America.

The plan is for the theater to have a few showtimes a day, likely around 2:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday each week. Tickets will cost $10.

She hopes to show movies that aim to have a big social impact. She envisions someone — probably with some expertise in whatever the film is about — to speak briefly before the movie is shown, and then to lead a discussion after the movie.

Stirk mentions the documentary "Searching for Superman," about struggling schools in New York City, as a good example of the kind of movie she's talking about, something that can make people think about the issues that, in particular, face the city of York.

“What can we do to instigate conversation?” she said.

Most of the building — which used to be home to the technology firm Stirk used to run — will hold an art gallery curated by local artist Carmen Walsh.

Walsh said this is a step forward from her booth at Central Market, where she has been selling her own pieces and those of other local artists.

"Now I have walls, for one, which is big help when you’re trying to sell two-dimensional artwork," she said.

She said she's had plenty of interest from artists in the area, especially because it's paired with the little indie theater.

"Some of the art is York-focused, but all of the art is York-based," Stirk said.

The gallery will hold art in many different mediums, from paintings to furniture to jewelry, with the connecting aspect of being made by local artists.

"All local, that’s what it’s all about," Walsh said.

— Reach Sean Cotter at

Read or Share this story: