Aug 29 2011

Piedmont Arts Center Bursts onto the Scene with Music and Art

A large crowd of Piedmonters turned out on a warm Sunday afternoon to celebrate the opening of the new Piedmont Center for the Arts, Inc.   The former Christian Science Church at 801 Magnolia Avenue has been quickly renovated with roof repairs, basement work,  window replacements, lighting, new stair railings, fresh paint, and new carpet. The renovation work was done by privately raised funds and hands-on volunteer labor. Two donated oriental carpets and a loaned 1903 baby grand piano furnished the former sanctuary.  The City landscaped the exterior grounds and completed the entire job in two-and-a-half weeks, just in time to welcome the community on Sunday, August 28, 2011. 

The walls were hung with a group exhibit featuring local artists Bill Blackwell, Valerie Corvin, Michele Hofherr, Ruth Koch, Lorna Strotz, and sculpture by Bruce Wolfe. It will remain on view through September 4.  Many of the artworks are for sale. Arts Center President Nancy Lehrkind, who spearheaded the project, said the new facility is fully booked for the fall with art exhibits, concerts and a lecture.

Music for the opening was provided by the Piedmont Horn Trio – Jonathan Ring, Stuart Groningen and Tom Reicher.  The Pro Musica Quartet – Violinist Joseph Gold, Violinist Debbie Dare, Violist Frank Bliss, and Cellist Joyce Park – performed Stephen Whitehead’s Count Dracula, with narration by Jim MacIlvaine. Stuart Gronningen joined the quartet for a  performance of Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat major for horn.

Artists and performers are invited to book use of the space.  For Piedmont residents, using this public space for a concert, literary event, lecture or recital will cost $500, plus the Arts Center requests that 10% of ticket proceeds be donated to the Center.  (Ticket rates are pre-set at $25 for adults and $10 students.)  Piedmont Art Exhibitors will be charged $250 for the first week and $175 for each subsequent week, plus a requested donation of 10% of art work sales to the Arts Center.  Non-residents may also book the space at slightly higher fees.   To reserve space, contact 421-1773.

On Monday, August 29, the day after the opening reception, workers resumed making further improvements to comply with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), specifically building accessible restroom facilities and installing a wheelchair lift in the building’s East Wing.  The Arts Center had encountered problems in locating  ADA compliant restrooms in their portion of the building because of  their need for space in the auditorium (former sanctuary) and offices. Constructing restrooms in the East Wing (former Sunday School portion) was determined to be the best location for the restrooms while necessitating the addition of a wheelchair lift.

On May 2, 2011 the City Council approved a 15-year lease of most of the former Christian Science Church tthe Piedmont Center for the Arts, Inc. for $1 a year in exchange for improvements, ongoing maintenance and daily staffing of the facility.














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