Pleasanton Concert Band plays tonight at new Firehouse Arts Center

Sister-city delegation from Tulancingo to be honored at free public event

The first major city-sponsored event will take place at the new Firehouse Arts Center tonight at 7 p.m. with a special free performance by the Pleasanton Community Concert Band for the Sister City delegation from Tulancingo, Mexico.

Then a full season of entertainment kicks off tomorrow night with a performance by master jazz guitarist Earl Klugh. On Saturday, celebrated composer musician Mose Allison will perform, with award-winning pianist Evelyne Brancart in a Chopin piano concert on Sunday.

The events follow the dedication last weekend of the $10 million Firehouse Arts Center. Speakers at an opening day ceremony included artist Charlotte Severin of the Firehouse Arts Center task force that spearheaded the effort to build the new arts center, and Bill Butler, now chairman of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has contributed close to $2 million in cash donations and pledges for the center.

Other speakers included Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and City Manager Nelson Fialho.

Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) presented a congressional resolution that congratulates Pleasanton on its new arts center and theater, with a similar resolution from the California State Senate presented by State Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-10th). An aide to Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-18th) presented a resolution approved by the State Assembly that also congratulated Pleasanton on its new facility.

All members of the City Council sat in a row of chairs in front of the architecturally-stunning front entrance to the Firehouse Arts Center, facing an estimate 300 guests who joined in the celebration and dedication. Along with Hosterman, the council members were Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Cindy McGovern, Matt Sullivan and vice mayor Jerry Thorne.

The Firehouse Arts Center, which is located at 4444 Railroad Ave. at the end of Division Street, just a one-block walk from Main Street and downtown Pleasanton, will be open daily.

The complex is an architectural blend of modern design with the old historic fire station built in 1929 that was saved from destruction by artists and members of the Pleasanton arts community. They saw the site as ideal for meeting their needs. With the City Council's decision to make the Firehouse Arts Center construction a capital improvement priority, the Cultural Arts Council set up a foundation for soliciting public and private contributions in addition to the $10 million the council eventually authorized for the complex.

The premier center features a 227-seat flexible studio theater, 2,000 square feet of versatile gallery space, two large art classrooms, and a spacious grand lobby for receptions and events.

As a multiple-use facility, the Firehouse Arts Center will provide a broad range of arts programming opportunities. From musical and theater performances to lectures, films, comedy, youth performances, workshops and demonstrations, the facility is expected to serve as a vibrant center for the arts for all segments of Pleasanton.

Construction on the project began in the summer of 2008. At the time, budget estimates ran as high as $12 million to build and furnish the structure. Because of the recession that had hit the construction industry especially hard, when bids were advertised the cost had dropped to $8 million. Another $2 million was added for special features, including environmentally conscious features such as solar panels.

The master plan was designed by ELS Architecture and Urban Design of Berkeley, and the general contractor was W.A. Thomas Co. Inc. of Martinez.

Pleasanton residents Nancy and Gary Harrington, who were introduced to loud applause at Saturday's dedication ceremony, donated several of the most dramatic features of the Firehouse Arts Center -- two large glass marquees designed by world-renowned architectural glass artist Martin Donlin, as well as a statue of Claude Monet that will be installed near the outdoor plaza.

Tickets for all performances are available for purchase online at Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Firehouse Arts Center box office, or by phone at (925) 931-4848. Although closes on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, box office hours are from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets, if available, can also be purchased two hours prior to each performance.


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Posted by waste
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

What a waste of 10million dollars.

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Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

@ waste - why? It was not tax-payer money. Why is it a waste to have a new performing arts space in Pleasanton? A new attraction like this will bring more people downtown to patronize our restaurants and shops. Seems like a win-win.

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Posted by Mark
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 21, 2010 at 2:27 am

A total waste of money! The Amador Theater is better suited for larger productions. It seats more people and has the ability to make more money for the city. Now, groups like the many local dance companies are being shoved out of the Amador Theater because all the focus is on the new theater, which doesn't have adequate seating. The new theater seats 100 while Amador Theater seats over 600 hundred. That's why it is a waste!

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Posted by Patricia
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 21, 2010 at 8:35 am

Patricia is a registered user.

Actually, the firehouse theater seats 227 (read the article) and has modern sound/lighting systems that will better accommodate many groups. From what I now hear, the Amador Theater will remain available for large-audience events (thanks to those who spoke up for saving it!) But when was the last time you attended something at the Amador Theater that filled the house? Most local dance groups will find the Firehouse suits their needs just fine. Plus it's got a fabulous art gallery and classroom space. This project has saved a historic building, breathed new life into the arts community of Pleasanton, and will draw people to the restaurants and shops of downtown. Obviously those who donated and those who worked hard to raise the money to make it happen didn't think it was a waste. Since you obviously didn't donate, why would you even care?

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Posted by Salsa
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

Waste you say? I think not. You are oviously misinformed about the Firehouse Arts Center and what it is and what it is going to do for our community and business. The billions in bail out money by our government with no return on our investment, now that was a waste.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 21, 2010 at 9:08 am

Stacey is a registered user.


The size of the venue is an important factor, indeed. We've been missing out on a great many wonderful performers here in Pleasanton because we don't have a small enough venue!

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Posted by Don
a resident of Ironwood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 9:48 am

Certainly was not a waste of money but a smart idea for several reasons. So much emphasis on sports in the Tri Valley and not everyone is into that, so I fully support this venue. The amount of seats is good as the larger theaters are having problems filling them all at this time. The seating arrangement is good and there are many smaller revue type shows for adults that will work well. In fact on the schedule for January is the musical "Cabaret", which is perfect. We need to support this venue.

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Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Sep 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

Put aside the fact that the Firehouse Arts Center is a stunningly good looking (albeit unique) piece of architecture & the work done on the surrounding grounds & landscaping make for a beautiful blend into the park & downtown area. Also having provided A/V services for both the Amador Theater as well a few other venues in the area I can say what a treat it will be for the Firehouse patrons to have a truly state-of-the-art sound, lighting & staging system installed in this historic building, something that just can't be said about (the aging cave that is) Amador.

With a seating capacity of 227 you'll have a more intimate setting affording better interaction of the audience & performers as well as providing ample space to for others to roam around the museum, exhibit & outside areas. With more efficient access for set-up & staging, performers & staff could easily hold 3+ performances a day thus giving you your seating capacity well over what Amador could provide plus giving more flexible times for patrons to attend shows.

I'm looking forward to many an event down there, way to go P-Town!

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:00 am

The Firehouse Arts Center is the best thing to happen in Pleasanton in decades. I can't believe the petty minded comments by some on this issue. It was done in time under budget with a remarkable job of fund raising. If the quality of life in Pleasanton is to support the top 100 ranking we really need this. Otherwise you can go back to the old cow town this was 25 years ago when I moved in. Go Pleasanton. Congrats to all the people involved in it and boo to the petty nay sayers.

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Posted by To concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:24 am

I believe the nay sayers would be happier if instead of a theater there was a basketball court, or maybe a big screen continuously tuned to ESPN. Then it would NEVER be a waste of money.

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Posted by TMR
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

Loved it. We had fun!

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Posted by LMS
a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

From what I understand the city paid $8 million for the construction of the Firehouse, the other $2 million came from donations. The Firehouse was conceived when the economy was stronger, so although I support the arts, it will cost the city to now operate both the Firehouse and Amador. Nothing is free...

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Posted by A Supporter of the Arts
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Sep 22, 2010 at 7:40 am

I think the Firehouse Arts Center is a wonderful addition to our community. Now I will not have to go to Walnut Creek(Lesher), Concord or Martinez (Willows Theatre) every time I want to see a smaller local production. I am proud to say I was involved in one of the fundraiser! For those of you complaining get of your butts and find something you think is worthwhile to get involved with. It will make you feel so much better about YOUR community!

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Posted by Michael Leonard
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

I live close enough to walk here and I went to the public opening. I'm looking forward to attending events at the Firehouse and hope it is successful.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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