December 19, 2002

Resolve to put art in your new year

Filed under: Art and About Holidays — admin @ 4:09 pm

Did you hear the loud “Whoooooo-peeeee” ringing through the hills and valleys of Lamorinda last month? I was simply exclaiming my restored faith in humanity when I learned that the Lafayette City Council had directed city staff to research the prospect of creating a public art ordinance. The ordinance has a long, bureaucratic journey before it is adopted, but it is an idea that had seemingly disappeared off the radar screen two years ago. To see it resurrected at a time when the federal government is warmongering and the state government is doing some soul-slapping slashing of the budget where the arts, education, recreation and health are concerned, fills me with joy and great relief. At least my city government isn’t going to make the arts something that is only dusted off when the economy is booming.

It caused me to think that at times when the economy and spirits are down, we could all do a small part to ensure the arts weather the storm and come out virtually unscathed, in Lamorinda at least. Please forgive the cliché, but on this New Year’s Day, I present you with a list of resolutions to nourish the local arts economy and your soul in 2003.

See at least one production at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette. They have an incredible variety of offerings in the new year. There’s sure to be something that fits your fancy, ( or 283-1557 for information). And don’t forget, the Town Hall Kids are a talented group of local youth who do shows written by  Barrett Lindsay-Steiner which are entertaining for parents and children alike.

While you’re at Town Hall, pick up a brochure for the Gold Coast Chamber Players. Bring your family to an intimate, classical music concert for a fraction of the price and time commitment it takes to go through the tunnel. ( In the same vein, look into the upcoming programs offered by the Orinda Community Church Festival of Music (

When summer arrives, treat yourself to theater under the stars by checking out the Orinda Starlight Village Players. The theatrical experience does not get more intimate than the charming Orinda Community Center Amphitheatre.

Grab a cup of coffee in downtown Lafayette or in the Rheem Shopping Center and then stroll through either the Lafayette Arts Gallery or the Moraga Art Gallery to see what your neighbors are creating in sculpture, photography, paint, textiles, book arts, jewelry, printmaking and mixed media.

And if you need a unique gift for someone this year, consider foregoing the specialty gift shop and commission one of our Lamorinda artists to create a personalized, custom piece for that person. Contact the Lamorinda Arts Alliance and I’m sure they will help you get in touch with someone who will guide you through the process of creating an original work of art. I assure you, it will be inspiring for both you and the artist.

Bring your family to one of the events produced by the  Community Concert Series ( at the Orinda Library Auditorium. Tickets are always under $30 for a headliner the whole family will undoubtedly enjoy, and the library auditorium is a fantastic place to see a show.

If you’ve never had a chance to see a concert, musical or drama production at one of our local high schools, look into that this spring. And then, see where the burgeoning talent is coming from at the Lamorinda middle schools. And then, see where the kids get their start by investigating the array of original productions and concerts being produced in our elementary schools. There are too many phone numbers and Web Sites to list, but we all live within minutes of several schools. Find out what the closest one to you is doing in the next few months and go support the artistic endeavors of our youth.

Promise yourself to see a movie at the Orinda Film Festival ( next fall. Bone up on your cinematic knowledge and vocabulary in the months preceding by attending an event sponsored by the Orinda Film Society (

Participate in the California Shakespeare Festival’s “Inside Scoop” program. One evening before each of their summer productions, the festival offers a peek into the rehearsal process and into the creative minds associated with the shows. The night of artistic insight is free, with coffee and ice cream served at the end. A free evening of creativity, theater and ice cream —  it doesn’t get much better than that! (

This list of resolutions could go on and on. You may just want to promise yourself to keep your eyes and ears open to the thriving arts scene in Lamorinda. Look at the walls of local businesses and you’ll be surprised to see how many are informal galleries for local artists. Come summer, there are plenty of concerts in the park in the three communities. The community centers always have something going on. If you’re looking for something to do, read the Sun Arts Calendar for ideas.

And whatever you do, bring your kids. A trip to an art show, a concert or a play is a great family outing. And our kids must get into the habit of supporting the arts through good times and bad if the arts are going to survive through the next generation. My mother-in-law once said, as matter-of-factly as if she were describing oxygen or food, “The arts are essential for life.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.