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Arts on Fire

Downtown Pleasanton gets a new cultural centerpiece with the opening of the Firehouse Arts Center.


Dino Vournas

Pleasanton turned up the heat on its art scene with the September 18 opening of the Firehouse Arts Center. The $13 million project transformed a historic firehouse into a 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art center, with a theater, gallery, and classrooms. Here’s a peek at what’s happening.



THE HISTORY  Fire Station No. 1 was built in 1929, with bricks from Pleasanton’s Remillard Brick company. A glass walkway connects the historic building to the new addition. The station’s original brass pole has been refurbished and is in the lobby.

STAGE SCENE  The 230-seat studio theater, which has adjustable seating and high-def video projection, is the new home of Civic Arts Stage Company, Firehouse Kids, and Creatures of Impulse improv. The center puts on several music series, including jazz, cabaret, and classical: Upcoming highlights are a performance by Franc D’Ambrosio, the longest-running Phantom of the Opera (October 3), and David Lanz, a Grammy-nominated New Age pianist and composer (November 27).

ON DISPLAY  View the work of artists in the National Watercolor Society October 19–December 2 in the Harrington Art Gallery. The 2,000-square-foot space is named after residents Gary and Nancy Harrington, who donated the 30-foot glass art marquees at the center’s entrances.

SCHOOL'S IN  Workshops for kids and adults include preschool acting class My Favorite Story, Shakespeare scene studies for high schoolers, and talks and technique instruction with local artists.

DOWNTOWN LOWDOWN  For a preshow filet mignon, Hap’s Original is right around the corner. After a matinee, your kids will beg for an orange-vanilla frosty from the Meadowlark Dairy drive-through down the street.

Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave., Pleasanton, (925) 931-3456, firehousearts.org

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