The class of 2019 for Leadership Santa Maria Valley (LSMV) had their Arts & Culture Topic Day on October 5, 2018. The day started at the Minerva Club, which is one of the oldest clubs operated by women in the Santa Maria Valley.
Interestingly enough, the Minerva Club was started on October 5, 1894, 124 years ago to the exact day that the class visited. The class was greeted with a lovely assortment of goodies, coffee and tea, which was typical of what the ladies would have served in the original days at the Minerva Club.
There was so much history with the club, but also in the building itself. The current building was built in 1928 by Julia Morgan, the same architect who built Hearst Castle. Pernelle McCalip, one of the board members, explained a bit of the club’s history. The club has been very involved with the community over the years. During the World War I and II, they helped make bandages and hosted food drives. Currently they help to give scholarships to high school seniors every year to help out with college tuition. They have been an integral part of the community for over 100 years.
After the Minerva Club, the class went to the Abel Maldonado Center to hear a presentation from Dennis Smitherman of City of Santa Maria P.L.A.Y. (People for Leisure and Youth). He gave a presentation about the city’s efforts with public art in the community.
Not only does public art create a sense of community and ownership in your area, but it infuses personality into the area as well. There are many ways to make everyday items beautiful, like painting utility boxes that are prevalent throughout the city. Community bookcases are just another item that are not only unique but increase the chance of running into others that live in the area, as another way to infuse the sense of community into a city. While public art can add beauty to a city, there are of course challenges to having arts in the community. Dennis had a great presentation and made the class think differently about the impact of public art locally in Santa Maria.
The next stop was with Maria Centrella from the PCPA (Pacific Conservatory Theatre) at Allan Hancock College for a tour of the 2 theatres on Hancock’s campus. There are a total of 3 theatres, Marian and Severson, both at Hancock’s campus and the theatre in Solvang as well. The PCPA is in the 54th season currently and are usually working on 5 shows, in different stages of production, at any given time. It is the only program of its kind in the US at a community college within the U.S.
Jeff Allen led the group through a tour of the program, giving a behind the scenes look at costumes, props, painting and lighting departments. Seeing the overall process and amount of work involved was a fascinating experience for the class, who says they have a newfound respect for all those who make things happen at PCPA!
The class would like to thanks Allan Hancock College’s Wine & Viticulture program and Woody’s Butcher Block for providing a venue, wine tasting, and delicious sandwiches for our lunch!
And a special thank you so much to all of the presenters for the day and all who contributed to make the Arts & Culture Topic Day a success!