By Paul Bendix
(Under) Performing Arts CenterUploaded: Jan 16, 2014
It's a major civic achievement, endlessly promising and somewhat disappointing: the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center.
What's disappointing? The number of nights the facility is dark. In particular, the lack of year-round bookings by major performance groups.
The PAC's design was well researched. Sequoia District officials did substantial due diligence. Music at Menlo founders David Finckel and Wu Han advised on acoustics. Today, their concerts represent the most bookings by outside groups.
Making Menlo Park, in essence, the summer home of the Lincoln Center Chamber Series. With these credentials, you would think our PAC would attract more concerts and events.
Dance troupes. Chamber artists. Jazz concerts. The place is sized and acoustically designed for a range of performers.
What is the problem? In truth, the Bing Center at Stanford has siphoned off some business. But our PAC has distinct advantages, with its proscenium stage, size and intimacy.
I suspect that neither the District nor the City can afford a professional with the experience and connections to promote bookings. Which creates a chicken-egg problem for our beautiful civic theater. To attract audiences and artists...it needs to attract more artists and audiences.
Ideally, the Performing Arts Center would contract with an impresario or agency like Columbia Artists Management. But how could we fund such a move?
What are your ideas about expanding use of the M-A Performing Arts Center?