Pavilion will change hands
Tucked into the oaks on the edge of Penn Valley’s Western Gateway Park is a monument to community effort: the Gateway Performing Arts Pavilion.
Since 1993, a group of arts-loving residents has brought together donors, government and contractors to create something considerably more substantial than the typical public park gazebo bandstand. With its orchestra pit, dressing rooms, towering metal roof and 3,600-square-foot stage, which even boasts the requisite theatrical trap door, the multipurpose venue is one most cities would covet.
“It is a quarter-million-dollar pavilion,” said Jean Humburg, secretary and treasurer of Gateway Performing Arts Foundation. “The rest is blood, sweat and tears. There is no way to put a price on that.”
Humburg is just one of the many volunteers from the foundation that has guided the project through its conception in 1993 to its recent completion. Now the foundation is set to turn the pavilion over to the Western Gateway Park District.
Jim Shippen did a lot of “soliciting and arm twisting” as he directed the all-volunteer construction of the pavilion. His wife, Phyllis, is the president of the Gateway Performing Arts Foundation. If not for local building contractors supplying labor and material at cost, or out-right donations, the market cost for the facility would be about $750,000, he said.
“The support was terrific,” Jim Shippen said. “People would step up and do what they could between running their own businesses.”
As the pavilion has gone through its different construction stages over the years, a variety of performances have been featured on the stage. The Sierra Nevada Winds Orchestra, “Paint Your Wagon,” Celtic Star, Alistair Frazier, Music in the Mountains, Apollo Opera Company, Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, and “Music Man” have all been seen there, Humburg said.
The pavilion is also available for other uses, such as weddings and anniversary celebrations, she said.
“At this point,” Humburg said, “we have to get more people to know about it and use it.”
As the pavilion is turned over to the park district, Humburg said that the foundation is looking for people with marketing, arts or financial backgrounds to serve on a board to manage its operations and “preserve the purpose and intent of the founders.”
Shippen said that after the long haul to build the pavilion, the board of the foundation is ready to take a step back and rest.
“It needs someone to operate it,” he said. “It takes so much work to organize performances, to get them advertised. We need people to step up, like marketing people.
“We’d like to stand back in the shadows and watch.”
People interested in serving on the new board can send a resume to Gateway Performing Arts Foundation, P.O. Box 826, Penn Valley 95946 or call 432-0836.
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