Jan 10 2021

OPINIONS: Renew Arts Center Lease at 801 Magnolia

The City has received the following letters urging renewal of the $1 a year lease of 801 Magnolia Avenue for both commercial and Arts Center use.

Dear Ms. Mayor and City Council Members:

I have been so proud of our town for using a piece of property long neglected for such a constructive use as the Piedmont Center for the arts. It has been amazing how beautifully it has grown into a class theater, music performance  and artist venue.

I was surprised to learn that there is some question about its continuing in the current use. I do hope it will continue so that we may enjoy more of the art, music  and theater in the future.

Thank you.  It’s a good life!
Beth DeAtley, Piedmont Resident


Dear City Council,

Music, drama, art, right in the center of Piedmont.  How lucky we are that we, and our children, can see the Piedmont Chamber Music Festival, plays performed and directed by local residents, and art by Michael Stehr and others.  The Piedmont Center for the Arts has become a beloved and necessary addition to our vibrant community.

After this dark time in our country’s history we need the joy and hope that the arts can bring.  May the Piedmont Center for the Arts continue to be a bright light in our community.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Ann Benson, Oakland Resident


Dear Council members,
As a longtime Piedmont resident, I  was totally thrilled to finally see the building at 801 Magnolia Avenue used for something good!  The PCA is one of the truly great success stories for our city!  Not only has it given me many evenings of delight and joy but has opened my eyes to the vast artist’s living in our city for so many years! It is an institution which must stay alive just as every other historic institution in Piedmont. (I cite Mulberry`s, Ellen Driscal theatre, Japanese Teahouse, etc.) Especially in these dark times of covid, when so many of us have and are being exposed to hatred, bigotry and dis-ease, we NEED PCA  more than ever!  Please vote to continue the lease for this extremely valuable institution in February!
Concerned citizen and art lover,
Sherry Jacobs, Piedmont Resident

Please renew the lease for this treasured asset.

It is unique, and one of the Crown Jewels of the town. The board of directors of this non-profit offers diverse programming and community support.  The Center serves the residents with programs supporting local artists, lectures and performances which support local actors and musicians, and programs for children – truly a wonderful asset for Piedmont.


John Callahan


Dear Councilmembers,

As a Piedmont resident for over forty years, I think the Piedmont Center for the Arts has been one of the best additions to the local cultural scene in my lifetime. I find the offerings to be consistently high quality and highly varied, the venue to be intimate and  extremely appropriate to both the performances and the audience, and above all, I am proud to live in a community that can support such an endeavor at the truly local level.

I appreciate that the venue itself is well appointed and cared for, that it is accessible to all, and lends itself so well to the variety of cultural arts events that I have attended which include music, drama, and exhibits.

I surely hope the city council will renew the lease of this enriching institution with a resounding vote of applause to its devoted volunteers.


Elaine Horwitz Bachrach, Piedmont Resident


My name is Jonathan Ring and I have been a Piedmont resident for 22 years.  My wife and I have raised our 2 children here.

I also am a professional musician beginning my 30th season with the San Francisco Symphony.

Having an arts center here in Piedmont has been vital to our quality of life and to the cultural enrichment of our city and its citizens.  With such a huge emphasis being put these days on technology and its accompanying short attention spans, it is a welcome respite to have a place in our city where one can come and experience music unfolding over a longer period of time than 3 1/2 minutes, take the time to sit and ponder a piece of visual art, or reflect on a theatre performance which confronts important issues of the human condition and of society.  This exercise of looking inward and reflecting is one we don’t wish to be lost with our children’s generation.  It is the meaning of truly being human, and our arts center is a vital provider of this most important commodity to our city.

Life does not come down to money, power or opportunity.  Fully living life is fully being human, and the art of human expression is what the Piedmont Center for the Arts provides for the city of Piedmont.

Please ensure that it remains the important resource that it has been and that it has the full, unending support of the city government so that Piedmont residents can continue to take advantage of what the arts here have to offer.  Tax revenue, property values, etc. are all important things to consider, however I would argue that human revenue and human values are more important.  We all wish our city to be populated with caring, intelligent, sensitive and enlightened citizens – this is what the Piedmont Center for the Arts provides and must continue to provide to the residents of Piedmont.

Jonathan Ring, Piedmont Resident


We are losing so much with this pandemic.  It would be a shame to lose the Arts Center as well.  Our family very much appreciates having this resource.  Please do what you can to make sure that our town continues to support the Center for the Arts.
Matt O’Connell, Piedmont Resident
I have lived in Piedmont for over 30 years & am so appreciative of our beautiful parks, tennis courts, children’s playgrounds as well as our exceptional services.
The Piedmont Center for the Arts is such a gift to our city & part of the reason that our city is such a special place to live. As a lover of the arts, I was thrilled when the center opened.
From art shows, to concerts, to the numerous special events, the center truly enhances our sense of community & importantly supports our local artists.
I am so hopeful that whatever issues have arisen can be quickly resolved.
Please join with supporters of the center to insure that the lease is approved and the Center can continue as an important community resource.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dana Corvin, Piedmont Resident

Dear Members of the Piedmont City Council:

I am writing to urge you to renew the lease for the Piedmont Center for the Arts at your February meeting.

I have enjoyed performances and exhibits at the PCA, both as a member of the audience and as a performer, and I assure you it is a rare and treasured venue for the small and intimate types of performances that both artists and audiences love.

Although I am a resident of Oakland, I admire the fact that Piedmont is able to have such a wonderful arts program, and I appreciate the efforts of the volunteers who make it possible.  This beautiful facility provides the perfect place for their dedicated work and for many artists’ talents to find expression.

I hope you will recognize what an amazing gift the PCA provides to your community and those in the surrounding area.  Piedmont is lucky to have the PCA, and I hope you will allow it to continue by renewing its lease.

My sincere thanks for your consideration.

James A. Haverkamp, Oakland Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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