Valley Performing Arts Center, set to open in 2010, has developed community interest

Craig Strazzeri

A view from Nordhoff Street of the new Valley Performing Arts Center. The building is scheduled to open in 2010. Photo by Craig Strazzeri
A view from Nordhoff Street of the new Valley Performing Arts Center. The building is scheduled to open in 2010. Photo by Craig Strazzeri

For anyone who has been on Nordhoff Street recently, it would be impossible not to notice the towering construction site that is the future home of the Valley Performing Arts Center. Joining in on the contagious buzz are local marketing agencies, CSUN athletic coaches and potential investors.  They are learning the potential of the building, as they participate on hardhat tours of the construction site.

Rob Sherman, the vice president of the marketing company Moncur Associates, was invited to participate in a hardhat tour of the new site.  Sherman is exploring how his firm can work together with CSUN to help in the fund raising efforts, by utilizing the Internet.

“We are looking to especially help in the fundraising by using online and social networking efforts,” said Sherman.  “We are very excited and enthusiastic about the project because the Valley culture will benefit greatly from such a performance center.”

Also a visitor of the hardhat tour was CSUN’s women’s volleyball coach Jeff Stork.  His resume includes a gold medal for Team USA in volleyball, in the 1988 Olympic games, located in Seoul, South Korea.  Stork is looking to use the new performing arts center as a tool to recruit potential student-athletes to the university.  He feels that any potential athlete with an interest in the arts will be drawn to the new center.

These hardhat tours are bringing in several people who are looking to become more involved throughout the construction process.

“The Valley Performing Arts Center will meet a critical need for the people of this region,” says Gailya Brown, Sr. Director of the center’s campaign.  “Not only will it present world-class artists of all disciplines, it will become a cultural resource for the community and a home for the best in arts education.  The 163,000 square foot Center will also become a gathering place for the community, connecting the sprawling and diverse San Fernando Valley through an accessible and beautiful setting that is unprecedented in this region.”

University and community leaders broke ground on the project on April 30, 2008.  The center, which will seat 1,700 people, was designed by Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc.  The $125 million building will play host to a variety of different programs including: dance, music, theater, and film.

In December 2008, the California State budget crisis put a halt to the construction of the center.  The 62-day suspension of construction ended on Feb. 20, when an amendment to the state budget granted clearance to resume building.

The center is expected to be the region’s premier venue for Broadway-caliber productions, which will feature prominent national and international artists.  The goal of the center is to serve the cultural needs of the community, while providing substantial economic growth.  The campaign for the center believes that performing and cultural arts programs play a vital role in educating future leaders.

The estimated opening of the Valley Performing Arts Center in 2010 will provide a new landmark for all Southern California residents.