Town Hall Meeting Update

By now you have likely heard that Petaluma Arts Center is going through a tough patch.

The Petaluma Arts Center has a wonderful history of providing a creative hub to the community. In fact, this Fall will mark the 10th anniversary of its existence. Over the years it has been supported by a group of loyal and generous donors and by a cash reserve that remained from its initial gift 10 years ago.

Last month the fiscal realities became extremely grim. Cash reserves shrank to a level that made it necessary for the board to make the difficult decision to layoff the staff. For the immediate future, the board has resolved to keep the doors open through volunteer efforts. It will maintain programming already scheduled—the Summer Arts Camp classes, a pop-up exhibition opening this weekend, and an exhibition entitled “Renewal Through Art” commemorating the October 2017 fire. The post-fire environment itself has made fund raising more difficult than normal.

Last week, the board hosted Town Hall meetings on two successive evenings to listen to ideas and suggestions from members about creating a modified plan for the future and to share details about our current situation.

The response was gratifying. Over 100 people attended the meetings. The event produced dozens of creative suggestions for what PAC could do to become financially sustainable—and more engaged with the community. More than 50 people volunteered to help with a variety of everyday tasks. PAC received over $5000 in pledges and donations. This is not to gloss over the deep feelings of disappointment everyone shares about the current financial situation, but PAC members made it clear that the Arts Center is an important part of their lives.

The future is challenging. The board is in the process of forming a steering committee of people from within and outside of the Arts Center to incorporate many of the suggestions that were voiced last week. The goal of this process is to create a model for PAC that will be fiscally sustainable and highly engaged with its audience and members

If you believe the Petaluma Arts Center makes a difference for you and for the community, please roll up your sleeves and join us in working through this difficult time. Your support has made what we have accomplished possible. Register for events, make a donation, volunteer to pitch in, contact us at info@petalumaartcenter.org.

If we are successful in overcoming our current difficulties, we have a new decade ahead.