Mar 8 2022

Council Approves Arts Center Agreement on Split Vote

The Council heard from City staff, the City attorney, residents, non-residents, the Recreation Department, representatives from arts groups, and performers addressing an Agreement with the Piedmont Center for the Arts, a local non-profit organization, regarding the City owned property at 801 Magnolia Avenue.

Between 7:30 p.m. and almost midnight on Monday, March 7, 2022, there was a lively discussion of the proposed Agreement with the Piedmont Center for the Arts organization for their continued use of the City facility across from Piedmont High School.

Issues discussed were:

  • Length of Agreement  – 5 years – Accepted
  • High fees Arts Center might charge for usage of their time – Undetermined
  • Lack of review by Recreation Commission – True
  • Problematic process and insufficient information to community 
  • Excessive number of dates and times reserved for Arts Center group
  • Control over City facility by external group – To be reviewed
  • $200,000 + in Arts Center current reserves derived from fees
  • 90 day deadline for Arts Center to advise the City of non-use of their allotted time slots – Accepted
  • City review of Agreement and usage after  18 months – Accepted
  • City review of Agreement on an annual basis – Accepted
  • End to sub-leases of the property – Accepted
  • Adequate opportunities for other groups to use the facility 
  • Revenue not captured by the City
  • Compromises by all involved to reach Agreement
  •  Desire to continue the successful activities of the Arts Center 
  •  A provision for potential use of the property for housing – Accepted

Council members expressed sincere appreciate to the many volunteers from the Piedmont Center for the Arts in establishing a successful and regionally recognized arts venue in Piedmont.

Three Council members supported the Agreement not wanting to delay the matter further and approved the staff proposed Agreements with minor changes.   Those approving were King, Andersen and McCarthy.

Two Council members voted no desiring additional information, a more transparent process, shorter term to the Agreement, and guaranteed equitable access for the entire community; these were Council members Cavenaugh and Long.

Since the lease with the Arts Center will end, sub-tenant, The Piedmont Post, was given an extension of 60 days from time of notice to vacate the Arts Center building. The City will use the space for expanded recreational programs and Recreation Department staff needs.

See prior article on the proposed Agreement. 

2 Responses to “Council Approves Arts Center Agreement on Split Vote”

  1. PCA deserves our appreciation for bringing such diverse and high quality art performances to Piedmont. A special acknowledgement of Nancy and Tom Lehrkind is called for. They lobbied for the idea of using 801 as an arts center, negotiated the lease with the City and spearheaded the fundraising and restoration for the building. I don’t think there would be a PCA without them.

  2. There absolutely would not be the resurrection of the 801 Magnolia building and PCA without Nancy and Tom Lehrkind. The Lehrkind’s had a diverse, encompassing vision for use of the Art Center that regrettably became more narrowly focused in 2017.

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