Celebrating Our Spirit: Entertainment venues abound in the area

LIMA — Visiting local venues can be a great way to explore the community and discover new experiences. Whether looking for entertainment, culture or just a fun night out, there are plenty of options.

The Veterans Memorial Civic Center in Lima, the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert and the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay are venues that host hundreds of professional performers, Broadway productions, national and international speakers, dance recitals and other productions.

There are two historic theaters that have been and still are being restored to their once-brilliant grandeur, the Holland Theater in downtown Bellefontaine and the Ohio Theatre in downtown Lima.

Schine’s Holland Theatre opened Feb. 12, 1931, as a 1,400-seat movie palace. At the time the Holland opened, it housed the largest movie screen in Ohio at 40 feet wide.

The Schine family commissioned Dutch-born architect Peter M. Hulsken, of Lima, to design the theater. The Holland is the only atmospheric theater in the world featuring Dutch architecture and the only atmospheric theater with a copyrighted design.

Atmospheric theater is a type of movie palace design that became popular in the late 1920s, designed to evoke the feeling of a particular time and place for patrons, through the use of projectors, architectural elements and ornamentation that evoked a sense of being outdoors.

The Ohio Theatre in Lima is a historic movie palace constructed for the Schine Corporation. Built in 1927, the theater is a brick and concrete structure featuring multiple architectural styles. Inside the murals are being restored to evoke that nostalgic feeling of a bygone era.

The Holland offers a variety of events in its theater; the Ohio Theater is just getting to the place in restoration where performances are being presented for the public.

Founded as an improv/sketch comedy troupe in 1984 by Michael Bouson, the Avante Garage Theatre Company became the longest-running professional show in Nashville. Later, Joe Correll came on board as co-artistic director. In 1994, it moved to New York City, where the Avante Garage equaled its previous success.

After a long hiatus, The Avante Garage produced Joe Correll’s original play “The Favorite” at the Avery Schreiber Playhouse in North Hollywood, California’s Theatre District. Their success in Nashville, New York City and Hollywood inspired Bouson and Correll to once again seek out a permanent home for their beloved theatre company, which ultimately brought them to Lima and the historic Ohio Theatre.

Visiting smaller venues can be a pleasurable experience for a variety of reasons, including intimacy, unique experiences, support for local businesses, affordability, and the potential to discover new talent.

The Legacy Arts Building, more commonly referred to as The LAB, hosts varied events. At different times the space may be set up with tables for dining. There may be seats for concerts or comedy night. There may be mats for yoga.

The Upper Lounge, at Old City Prime, also features a variety of acts. Upstairs, one can find a variety of musical acts. A comedy set is also booked for the Upper Lounge.

The Vibe Coffee House & Cafe hosts Lima Land Poetry Slam every second Friday at 7 p.m. Other events including music and the spoken word use the small setting the Vibe has in a renovated warehouse.

Visiting small visual venues can be a wonderful way to experience art in a more intimate and personal setting. ArtSpace/Lima and the Riverside Art Center in Wapakoneta provide art-related educational opportunities through classes, lectures and demonstrations in addition to displays in their galleries. Both provide a venue for local artists to display and sell their artwork. These smaller venues allow visitors to take their time in the gallery to experience the artworks.

Art is also displayed at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, Marathon Center for the Performing Arts and the Civic Center.

Venues for entertainment, culture and for just having fun abound in the area. One just needs to determine what they want to do, and there is a venue that will accommodate their desires.


Plenty of foods, items and ideas are created right here in the Lima region. Celebrating Our Spirit looks at those organizations that make the area such a vibrant place to live, work and play.

Read more stories at LimaOhio.com/tag/spirit.

Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409

Dean Brown
Dean Brown joined The Lima News in 2022 as a reporter. Prior to The Lima News, Brown was an English teacher in Allen County for 38 years, with stops at Perry, Shawnee, Spencerville and Heir Force Community School. So they figured he could throw a few sentences together about education and business in the area. An award-winning photographer, Brown likes watching old black and white movies, his dog, his wife and kids, and the four grandkids - not necessarily in that order. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0409.