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Pulse Check: The Arts Scene


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When the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts came to life in 1990, the bar was raised for local arts facilities in the 925. Other towns and cities are now nursing along their own plans for theater and arts showcases. This month, Diablo checks the pulse on arts center projects throughout the area.

Livermore

Patient: A new $22 million 500-seat theater and performing arts center in the heart of downtown to showcase community-based performances by groups such as Livermore Valley Opera, Del Valle Fine Arts Concert Series, and Livermore-Amador Symphony

Pulse: Alive and kicking

Prognosis: Ground breaking on the as-yet-unnamed facility took place last fall; it is expected to open in September 2007. Future plans include building an 1,800-seat theater nearby in 2011–2012.

Pleasanton

Patient: A massive makeover of the town’s original firehouse on Railroad Avenue will include an art gallery, a 240-seat theater, arts education classrooms, and a central lobby for receptions (pictured above).

Pulse: Steady

Prognosis: The nonprofit Pleasanton Cultural Arts Foundation is raising money, and the city will ask for construction bids in November. The foundation hopes to finish the project in 2008.

Danville

Patient: A theater next to a business complex on La Gonda Way remains unfinished after some drama of its own, including arrests for felony tax evasion, fraud, and embezzlement.

Pulse: Flatline; resuscitation is under way.

Prognosis: The Mt. Diablo Region YMCA acquired the theater in 2004 and is breathing new life into the project by partnering with Concord’s Willows Theatre Company to raise the $5 million needed to finish the interior.

Walnut Creek

Patient: Expanding the Shadelands Arts Center campus to consolidate arts education classes under one roof and building a new, larger theater to accomodate more audience members

Pulse: Needs life support

Prognosis: The city’s priority is the new library; a new theater won’t happen until 15 to 20 years from now. In the meantime, 2007 brings a new Chamber Music Series to the Lesher Center.


Concord

Patient: A regional arts complex nestled amid housing, commercial, retail, and open space on the former Concord Naval Weapons Station

Pulse: Needs life support

Prognosis: The federal government has yet to return the property to the city of Concord, so the plan remains in Phase I: gathering community input. Arts First is championing the arts-campus idea.

 

 

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