Campus: CSU Northridge -- March 23, 2005

Top Los Angeles Business, Cultural Leaders to Spearhead CSUN Campaign to Build the Valley Performing Arts Center

Some of Los Angeles' most prominent business and cultural leaders have agreed to spearhead Cal State Northridge's campaign to build the Valley Performing Arts Center. The proposed 1,600-seat venue will be the largest of its kind in the area and serve as a cultural hub for the region.

The newly formed Valley Performing Arts Center Executive Committee will have biotech pioneer Al Mann, chairman/CEO of Mannkind, as its chair and Latham & Watkins counsel David Fleming as its vice chair. Other members include actor/producer Richard "Cheech" Marin; J.D. Power and Associates Chairman J.D. Power III, retired California Community Foundation President/CEO Jack Shakely, and Alex Yemenidjian, chairman/CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

"The members of the Valley Performing Arts Center Executive Committee are some of the most prominent and accomplished individuals in the region. They are dedicated to helping Cal State Northridge bring a new level of culture to the San Fernando Valley," said Cal State Northridge President Jolene Koester. "The unique assistance they can provide and their commitment to bringing this project to fruition are a great start for this campaign."

The executive committee represents the area's leaders in business, arts and entertainment, law, philanthropy, and public service. The committee meets for the first time this week to discuss strategies for funding the $100 million project. (The entire Executive Committee is listed below.)

"The San Fernando Valley region and its nearly 2 million residents deserve this kind of 'signature' performing arts venue," said Fleming. "This long overdue project, teaming Cal State Northridge with community arts organizations, will enhance the region's quality of life, bringing new cultural opportunities and prospects for economic development," Fleming added.

"Strong volunteer leadership is the key to success in a campaign like this," said CSUN Vice President for University Advancement Judy C. Knudson. "We have been laying the groundwork as an organization to position ourselves to reach this point. We are fortunate to have access to the talent and vision of these very impressive community leaders."

The Valley Performing Arts Center will be located on the CSUN campus in the San Fernando Valley, at the northwest corner of Nordhoff Street and Lindley Avenue, just west of the campus' historic orange grove. About half of the project's $100 million funding is expected to come from state funds, with the other half from private contributions.

The fundraising campaign for the Valley Performing Arts Center will begin this July. Much of the preparatory work for the campaign already has been completed, including a feasibility study. The goal is to raise about $50 million to finish the project by the end of the decade.

The San Fernando Valley has a number of smaller performing arts venues, including several on the CSUN campus. But the future 1,600-seat Valley Performing Arts Center, as the largest facility of its kind in the Valley, will open the region to the excitement of full-scale Broadway-caliber productions and the rich textures of full symphony orchestra concerts.

Last November, the project received major political support when the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution lauding its goals to "educate and enrich the community, to enhance the cultural and economic growth of the Valley, and to better define the area as an attractive cultural destination."

Local business leaders, when surveyed by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal last year, said a local performing arts center would improve the Valley's image and quality of life, and many said they would financially support such a project.

"Having support from so many business and cultural leaders is a great indicator of the future of the Valley Performing Arts Center," President Koester said. "The key to the center's success is a vibrant partnership with community and area arts organizations. It is encouraging that we continue to receive feedback that the time for this project is now, and the place is Cal State Northridge."

Valley Performing Arts Center Executive Committee members include:

Sherry Barrat, Chairman and CEO, Northern Trust Bank of California
Lod Cook, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Pacific Capital Group
Gordon Davidson, Artistic Director, Center Theatre Group
Debra Farar, Member, California State University Board of Trustees
David Fleming, Counsel, Latham & Watkins, LLP
Stanley Gold, President and CEO, Shamrock Holdings
Larry Gould, Counsel, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP
Ed Landry, Partner, Musick, Peeler & Garret, LLP
Al Mann, Chairman & CEO, Mannkind
Richard "Cheech" Marin, Actor, Producer, Musician and Artist
Barry Munitz, President & CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust (honorary member)
Charles Noski, Retired Vice Chairman, AT&T Corp.
Sanford Paris, President, Paris Industrial Parks
Clyde Porter, Founder, West Valley Playhouse
J.D. "Dave" Power III, Chairman, J.D. Power and Associates
James Ring, Principal, Ring Financial
Jack Shakely, Retired President and CEO, California Community Foundation
Larry Thomas, Chairman Emeritus, Guitar Center, Inc.
Robert Voit, President & CEO, Voit Companies
Alex Yemenidjian, Chairman and CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Media Contact: John Chandler, (818) 677-5674, john.chandler@csun.edu


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