Jan 20 2013

Piedmont Arts Center Boasts Successful First Year

New community asset receives 10,200 visits –

Since opening its doors in September 2011, Piedmont adults and children have made more than 10,200 visits to various musical and theater performances, art exhibits, classes and activities at the Piedmont Art Center during its debut year.

Nancy Lehrkind, President of the Arts Center, enthusiastically notes, “Our design was for an arts organization, which would grow organically out of community need and usage.  Clearly there is demand for a full-on Arts Center in Piedmont.  We have recently formed the Piedmont Players acting troupe and will be producing two nights of plays in April.  The Center has also acquired a wonderful film projector and will be sponsoring a community film series, as well as hosting a screening from Colin Trevorrow (Piedmont grad) on his award-winning film.  More and more community members realize they have their own Arts Center and can use it for whatever artistic purposes they dream up!”

Lehrkind stated that Piedmont Art Center events and activities over the past year have included:

  • Authors Series and Speakers series
    • authors such as Nate Verkus and Anna Quindlan attended by more than 290 adults
    • speakers such as U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich, Peter Doctor, Pixar Animator and Film Director, and Steve Ellis, Bain and Company worldwide director, attended by more than 240 people
  • Weekly theatrical and musical performances
    • average attendance of 70 people for a total of 3,640 people
  • Art Gallery Exhibits every 2 weeks and Artists’ Receptions twice a month
    • average 25 visitors (open 3 afternoons per week), for a total of 650 people
    • average 80 visitors to the twice a month Artists’ Reception, for a total of 2,000 people
  • Ongoing Children’s Theater and Singing Classes
    • 5 classes per week from September through June  (including Saturday) for 20 children
    • 3 performances with 200 in attendance
  • Summer Camps utilized by 100 children
    • 2 different summer camps (one of which had a waiting list)
    • 3 performances of Annie by the children’s theatre group with over 275 adults attending.
  • Special Events and Activities
    • Artisanal Brewing Competition attracted 170 people
    • Ann Martin counseling services
    • Periodic Writing Class

The non-profit Piedmont Arts Center was granted a 10-year lease of the West Wing of 801 Magnolia for $1 per year, based on its agreement to renovate the deteriorated West Wing space.  Under its agreement, the Arts Center has provided interior paint, carpeting, installed 12 new double-paned windows, installed extensive drainage under and around the building ($10,000), performed seismic work and asbestos abatement, added air conditioning, and new electrical and plumbing for the West Wing, as well as installing a new furnace and ducting, and refurbishing wood floors. In addition, it has provided new landscaping, a new roof over the West Wing, and exterior paint for the entire building.  In the East Wing, the Arts Center installed an interior fire wall and ADA-compliant bathrooms, which serves the entire building.

To date, the total investment by the Arts Center in Magnolia property renovations and improvements total $136,000, funded through a combination of private donations and capital contributions provided by the Arts Center founders.  An additional $30,000 was spent to bring the East Wing bathrooms up to code, and the Arts Center anticipates spending a further $15,000 shortly to install an ADA compliant ramp or lift in the East Wing.  The City of Piedmont has paid for the replacement of sewer lines under the building.

All who pass the building at Magnolia and Bonita Avenue have noticed the dramatic changes in the city-owned property.  In addition to the freshly painted exterior, the lawn has been replaced with  lovely, well-maintained  landscaping.  The Arts Center paid Cleary Brothers to demolish and remove all old trees, remove shrubs, remove sod, prepare the soil, and install new sod, while the City provided 10 Cape Magnolia trees, 2 Dogwood trees, and 5 espalier plants for the patios.  In-ground lighting was provided by the Arts Center, and rear benches and other improvements added through more than 7 Eagle Scout and Boy Scout projects.  The City has generously continued to provide additional plant materials, garden improvements and landscape maintenance, making the property an attractive addition to the Piedmont Civic Center.  The City also provides trash service and building maintenance to 801 Magnolia.  (Trash service is generally provided to all city buildings without separate charge under standard city garbage franchise agreements.)

IMG_9572 Piedmont Center for the Arts 7/12

801 Magnolia after Renovations

Front entrance to 801 Magnolia before renovations

Front entrance to 801 Magnolia before renovations


Rotted windows prior to renovation

Rotted windows prior to renovation

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