A newly formed Valley Performing Arts Center Executive Committee has been appointed to oversee the creation of a proposed 1,600-seat performance center at CSUN that will provide San Fernando Valley residents an opportunity to locally attend Broadway musicals, plays and symphonies.
The committee is comprised of business and cultural leaders, including biotech pioneer and chair of the committee Al Mann, Latham and Watkins counsel David Fleming as vice chair, and 18 other committee members, including actor and producer Richard “Cheech” Marin and Paris Industrial Parks President Sanford Paris.
With a high demand for cultural events in the Valley, the new PAC is intended to provide convenience for residents interested in watching events like those held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or at Walt Disney Hall, but without having to commute to Downtown Los Angeles, Fleming said.
“I think (the Valley PAC) is going to draw a lot of performance art into the Valley since a lot of things you see now are on the other side of the mountain,” said Ken Etter, director of campus ticketing. “There aren’t any performing art centers in the Valley until you get out to Thousand Oaks.”
Filling seats and selling tickets depends on the types of attractions the Valley PAC gets, Fleming said.
“The events are fine downtown, but it takes a long time to get there, you have to fight the traffic in the late afternoon, and its not easy,” Fleming said.
The $100 million Valley PAC will be built on Nordhoff Street and Lindley Avenue, next to the campus orange groves, and will be the new home of KCSN, the campus radio station. The radio station facility will contain a small theater holding 250 people, said Fleming.
“We don’t have anything like it in the Valley, and it would be serving 2.5 million people with the opportunity to go to a place that is state of the art, (on) the level of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion,” Fleming said.
Without disturbing the orange groves, there will be new parking facilities adjacent to the Valley PAC, Fleming said. The Valley PAC is in the organizational stages, and the committee has yet to raise funds, but has already looked at several architects, Fleming said.
He said the Valley PAC should be built within the next 10 years.
The committee plans to raise $50 million for the project, and has already made inquiries with billionaires and people with discretionary wealth who are interested in the arts, Fleming said.
Since the Valley PAC is non-profit, only the community will benefit, but it will be expensive to maintain, and it is not just the question of building it, but maintaining it, Fleming said.
CSUN is not planning on retiring the old PAC, Etter said.
“It seats between 500 and 560, and for certain types of shows it’s perfect, (such as) single performer shows where a singer might get lost in a bigger venue,” Etter said.
Popular shows among students and community members are comedies, operas and plays, said John Valadez, public administration graduate student who works at the campus ticket office.
With 20 members currently recruited by President Jolene Koester and Vice President of University Advancement Judy Knudson, there are plans to recruit more committee members, and by the time the project is finished, there should be 100 committee members, Fleming said.
“It’s really a blue-ribbon group that we started to put together,” Fleming said.