the ross

The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, a comprehensive exhibition program which acknowledges the moving image as the principal art form of this century.

We’re committed to screening a wide diversity of high quality cinema: innovative American independent work including non-narrative, experimental films and video; classic foreign and American cinema illustrative of traditional and historical perspectives; documentaries which examine a wide variety of issues of concern; and contemporary foreign cinema of substance. The program is augmented by the invited participation of important media artists and scholars, and is supplemented through the distribution of notes and a research library 

which serves as a resource for the academic community and interested citizens throughout the state. The program plays a vital role in the education of the University’s Academic community at large, including Film Studies students. It also reaches out to the Lincoln community and beyond, offering Nebraskans a stimulating alternative to commercial movie and television fare by presenting works not ordinarily offered in this area.

Film, like photography, is one of the characteristic art forms of modern times.

In 1990, Mary Riepma Ross, one of the Theater’s most ardent and long-time supporters and a resident of New York City, established a $3.5 million irrevocable trust at the University Foundation for the purpose of building and endowing “The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.” This gift made it possible for the Media Center to greatly enhance and expand its programming and services in several important directions. Construction began June, 2001 and the new theater opened in January, 2003. After her passing at age 102 in 2013, it was announced that she had left $9.5 million in her estate to the University Foundation earmarked for The Ross. Mrs. Ross’ generosity will allow the The Ross to provide thoughtful programming for art lovers and visitors to the University and Lincoln communities for generations to come.

American independent cinema, one of the most vital aspects of this country’s film production, is the main emphasis of The Ross Media Center’s film exhibition program. Included are the finest in current 

independently produced American feature and short films–documentaries and narratives, comedies and dramas, live action and animation; all made with purpose, passion, and commitment to ideas.

The Friends of the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, which provides financial support for both programming and the acquisition of equipment, was established 1981 and functions as a community-oriented support group for the program. The organization has a membership numbering over 800.

The Theater has garnered a national reputation as being one of the best of its kind in this country. It strives to offer a well-rounded program of high quality which is a credit to the University and the community of Lincoln.

The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center is a state of the art facility that serves the University, the Lincoln community, and the State of Nebraska.

That extraordinary building is also home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Van Brunt Visitors Center, named for UNL alumni Irene and Winslow Van Brunt. Located at the gateway to the city campus, the UNL Van Brunt Visitors Center offers resources and information for visitors to the UNL campus.

Offices, classroom laboratories, equipment storage space, and editing suites, all belonging to the program, are located on the second floor of the new building. Film and New Media, under the auspices of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, teaches students the skills needed to pursue careers in the film and television industries.

The new media arts center features two screens, state-of-the-art technology, a research library and film storage archive, offices, and a concessions stand. In it, we are able to show everything from silent movies to the most recent technologies, the new electronic (digital) cinema, and everything in between.

There are two theaters. The Joseph H. Cooper Theater, seating 197, features a comprehensive repertoire of currently released American Independent Film and films from aboard, seven days a week, 3 shows 

nightly, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. It is so named in recognition of a generous donation to the University for this New Facility.

The other theater, seating 82, is used for a variety of purposes. In it we program more esoteric fare, significant works that deserve to be screened but that don’t attract larger audiences: documentaries, experimental film and video, the classics.

Also in the facility, there is an archival quality film/video storage room, which is used to house our burgeoning collection of films and videos of around 2,000 titles, including the UNL Film Studies collection, the Jerry Jensen Cinema 16 Collection, and the Foster/Dixon Collection.

The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center is one of the finest venues for independent film in the country. It continues to greatly enhance the old Mary Riepma Ross Film Theater’s well-deserved reputation for showing the world’s best films with the highest quality presentation possible.