Phase 1 of arts center $500,000 away

Drumming up the millions to build a future Carson Valley Performing Arts Center won't be easy, but the Carson Valley Arts Council has already brought it closer to fruition than ever before, according to council president Brian Fitzgerald.

Since the effort began about a year ago, the council has held two free concerts in hopes of generating funds to make the down payment needed to purchase the old Copeland Lumber building in Minden.

"This is a multi-million dollar project that has to be done in a series of phases," said Fitzgerald. "First and foremost we need to make the down payment for the purchase of the building. That amount (for the down payment) is at least $500,000.

"We've been generating $800-$900 at each of our two concerts. It really is a small step in the scope of things as far as the millions that will be needed eventually."

But, in Fitzgerald's 17 years in the Valley, he has not seen a performing arts center come this close.

"This effort and efforts of the Carson Valley Arts Council have far surpassed any past efforts," he said. "The potential for this project is so great. We have been able to get a lot of verbal support and community support."

Fitzgerald said more than 200 people attended the concert featuring acoustic guitarist Peppino D'Agostino on Friday. Each member of the audience received a DVD containing testimony from 20 community leaders and principal members of theater and art organizations, all in support of the center.

"The purpose of these concerts is to make the public aware, so they can let others know too," he said.

The most recent plans for the old lumber building show a 17,902-square-foot community center, with 400 seats. The arts council is compiling feedback from the community and hopes to have a new architectural rendering to put on display at the next concert in February.

Beppe Gambetta, a steel-string acoustic guitarist who plays with a pick rather than finger picking like D'Agostino, will perform at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at the CVIC Hall in Minden.

"We really want to keep the momentum going with successful events and hope to see everybody there again," said Fitzgerald. "We will hold more events in February, March and April. Through those concerts we hope to generate the support needed."

Fitzgerald said the concerts would not be possible without sponsorship. The January concert was sponsored by Tahoe Ridge Winery, Douglas County Parks & Recreation, the Town of Minden, Sweetie Pies by Wendy, Stockdale Creative Marketing & Advertising, Carson Valley Inn, R&S Optimum Offset, Syncon Homes,, DR and Explicit Media.

"It's only going to happen if we get the funding to purchase the building," said Fitzgerald. "I don't know how many people have said 'If I only had a million dollars I'd give it to you.' The enthusiasm is really there; we're hoping we can turn that into dollars."

-- Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 210.


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