City Council OKs agreement for Newhall auditorium

City of Santa Clarita City Hall

Santa Clarita City Council authorized an agreement Tuesday with the Newhall School District to support the Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts.

The city will use $75,000 in a one-year agreement to develop the auditorium into a center for arts.

Patti Rasmussen, a member of the city’s Arts Commission, said that the city’s Arts Commission decided to designate the auditorium as a performing space in its master plan in response to a need from the community.

The auditorium, which was part of the school’s original construction in the 1930s, turned into a warehouse after the 1970s, when the seats and curtains were torn out.

“In 2016, when we completed the plan, we decided to ask the artists, ‘What do you want most out of the community?’” Rasmussen said. “They said they needed a performing space.”

Rasmussen also said the commission is looking to establish a collaboration with arts education for the community.

Mayor Laurene Weste said at the meeting that the Newhall Family Theatre was a “phenomenal historical building” at Tuesday’s meeting.

“It’s structurally gorgeous,” Weste said.

“What art does for a community is enhance it and make people wonder,” Rasmussen said. “It makes people imagine. We’re so happy the City Council embraces arts as much as we do. We’re lucky because not every city has an arts commission. They take our recommendations to heart.”

The Arts Commission is also currently discussing increasing the total arts budget to $144,000 as a benchmark for fiscal year 2018. It was previously increased $30,000 to a total of $90,000 for the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year.

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