Giving Tuesday is a national campaign to raise money for great causes. Participating for the first time, we aimed high. Although we did not raise quite enough to replace the roof over our office spaces, we did raise nearly $4000 from online giving and the thank you event we held at the theatre on Novemeber 27. Thanks everyone!
#LOMPOCCHALKS CHALK FESTIVAL!
The brainchild of local Don Fletcher, organizer Barbara Satterfield and a dedicated team of over 20 volunteers spent a year planning and executing the first annual Lompoc Chalks Festival.
Friday night started at the Lompoc Theatre where the delicious food was catered by Central Coast Specialty Foods, the fine wine was poured by wineries Montemar, Hilliard Bruce, Temperance Cellars, Sweetzer Cellars, Lafond Winery and Fiddlehead. Sarah and Paul Barthel performed show tunes on the stage, the first time live music had been performed in the theatre in over a decade.
Following the meet and greet, the party moved to the Anderson Parks and Recreation center for cocktails, dinner by Valley Grill, and dancing to Benny Contreras and his band, Hard Times. A silent auction was held after dinner.
The event on Saturday and Sunday was held in downtown Lompoc, at the two public parking lots located at Cypress Avenue and I Streets, near "Art Alley" in the Old Town area. There were artisan vendors, food trucks, and entertainment onstage - also a beer and wine garden.
Open to the public with a suggested donation, the festival was well received on perhaps the most beautiful days of the year.
While many artists were local, these was also a community of chalk artists who traveled across the state and country to participate in our chalk festival, bringing their families and art teams. A featured event artist was hired by the organizer and paid to attend. All the other artists donate their time for the love of their art.
Many vendors were onsite and sold their beautiful handmade artisan items.
We predict substantial growth in future years as an annual event in the perfect town of Lompoc, the City of Arts and Flowers.
The Lompoc Theatre Project received a $15,000 grant from the Towbes Group of Santa Barbara. This group was instrumental in many large scale projects including the renovation of the historic Granada Theater in Santa Barbara. The money will used for repairs that will enable us to reopen the retail spaces facing H Street and bring monthly income to the building.
Several tours have been organized through the fall, with monthly tours in the works. Hundreds have toured the building, seeing first-hand the wonderful project in all its phases. Look for the red, two-sided sandwich board in front of the theatre on a Saturday and Sunday and come on in!
An intimate event with twenty-five friends and supporters, the Paella and Vino party was hosted by Alvin Cabral. The event raised several thousand dollars for the project.
A typical local Chamber of Commerce mixer is successful when 30 or more locals attend. The Lompoc Theatre Project opened their doors to 400 visitors in less than two hours. Popcorn was served, a delicious spread was donated by a local caterer and LTP supporter, along with tours throughout the entire 35,000 square foot building. (Photo by Anthony Howard.)
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Lompoc Theatre Project hosted a huge rummage sale inside the theatre. The first time the public had entered the building in nearly a year. Great success and raised much needed funds.
(Article Credit: Willis Jacobson, Lompoc Record)
When the Lompoc Theatre Project formed as a nonprofit organization six years ago with the lofty goal of restoring and reopening the historic Lompoc Theatre, one of its biggest challenges was to drum up support for the venture within Lompoc and surrounding communities.
Those efforts were not wasted, according to a feasibility study commissioned this year by the organization.
The Lompoc Theatre Project recently released the results of that study, which was based on surveys and questionnaires completed by 176 community members and 11 representatives of industries categorized as stakeholders in the project. The study concluded that there was overwhelming support for the project locally, and, despite some key challenges still remaining, a majority of community members believe that the renovation is viable, with 81 percent of respondents “optimistic” about its success.
Mark Herrier, an actor and president of the Lompoc Theatre Project’s board of directors, said he was encouraged by those results.
“It’s been a long, hard journey to get to where we are today, and [the journey] was made longer and harder because of the past history of the previous attempts to renovate the theater,” Herrier said Monday. “Some of them did not go well in the public’s eyes, and it took us many years to overcome those bad feelings.
“What the feasibility study proved beyond any shadow of a doubt is that we have overcome that, that people recognize that we are doing it, and they believe that we can do it,” he added. “That was a huge sea change in public opinion. That was very satisfying and I was happy to see that.”
Four years after forming as a 501c3 nonprofit in 2012, the Lompoc Theatre Project officially took over possession of the theater property, located near the intersection of East Ocean Avenue and North H Street. The group went on to develop a 450-person volunteer base, a 10-year donor list, and attracted a Facebook following of more than 2,000 people.
Each of those achievements, as well as the high-visibility downtown location, was included in the study findings among the “positive internals” for the effort, which aims to bring live entertainment, movies and other events back to the theater that first opened in 1927 but hasn’t been used regularly since the 1990s.
The study, which was conducted by Strategic Vitality LLC and funded in part by a $5,000 grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, also painted a picture of high external support of the project from the community.
Among the study’s key findings:
- Ninety percent of respondents said each of the proposed uses were "extremely" or "very" important;
- Eighty percent of stakeholders acknowledged a "strong" need for the theater; and
- Eighty-seven percent of community members strongly supported the renovation and believe that Lompoc residents and nonresidents would also support it.
Additionally, the study found no indications that previous unsuccessful attempts to restore the theater by other groups posed any threat to this current effort.
Herrier said he was encouraged but not shocked by those findings.
“I was more surprised when I first started this several years ago that that wasn’t already the case,” he said. “I knew the value of (the project). I knew the economic impact it will have. I knew all of the research that shows this is by far the best thing that could happen to the city. My surprise was that it was not as common knowledge as I thought it might be.”
A significant portion of the study focused on the financial feasibility of the restoration, which the Lompoc Theatre Project has estimated will add up to about $6 million.
The organization reports that it has raised about $200,000 so far, with the largest single donation coming from actress and Santa Barbara County native Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is perhaps best known for her role on the hit TV series “Seinfeld,” and her husband, writer/director Brad Hall.
The study noted that developing relationships with other wealthy locals could be critical to the restoration. It reported that Santa Barbara County had the 11th highest concentration of millionaires in the state, with one out of every 227 tax filers.
Billionaires who either live or have a significant presence in the county that were mentioned in the study include Oprah Winfrey, Tom Barrack and Elon Musk.
The study reported that 91 percent of those surveyed and all of the interviewees said that funding from outside Lompoc will be "important" or "very important” for the project’s success, with few thinking that the money could be raised in Lompoc alone.
Other funding-related findings:
- Sixty-five percent of those surveyed thought half of the money could be raised in the Lompoc Valley, while stakeholder interviewees thought 25 percent could be raised in the Lompoc Valley;
- If all of Santa Barbara County were included, interviewees thought 50 to 75 percent could be raised; and
- Seventy-five percent of interviewees thought $100,000 to $1 million should already be in a “launch fund” at start-up.
The study also reported potential challenges to the group’s fundraising efforts.
The study noted that the Lompoc Theatre Project’s capital campaign will be competing with other organizations for annual support and grant funding. Since those other organizations will include political campaigns both this year and in 2020, the study reported that the Lompoc Theatre Project needs to avoid polarization, which it reports has never been higher in the U.S., and that board members and supporters will “have to walk a fine line” regarding partisan politics.
A local organization’s ongoing efforts to restore the old Lompoc Theatre received a major bo…
The Lompoc demographics also present challenges, according to the study, which noted that some of those same challenges could also open up opportunities. For example, the fact that Lompoc is a “small town” and has average annual household incomes of less than $50,000 and per-capita incomes of slightly more than $20,000 can be leveraged to create strong “needs statements” for public and grant funding, the study notes, both for arts and cultural educational programs.
At the same time, the study also points out that public support of the arts is on the decline, while private support is on the rise.
While the study ultimately offered some encouraging indicators for the restoration, the project still primarily hinges on fundraising.
“If we had the $6 million tomorrow, then we could open in a year and a half,” Herrier said.
Over the past year, work commissioned by the Lompoc Theatre Project has included gutting out the entire auditorium, asbestos abatement and rehabilitation work on the roof. The downstairs office spaces have also recently been cleared out, and the group hopes to make those units available to renters as soon as this month.
The upstairs spaces, which are currently used for meetings by the Lompoc Theatre Project’s board of directors, will be made available after the work on the roof is completed, Herrier said. He indicated that could be done before the end of the year.
Members of the public will be able to go inside the old building and get up-close views of the changes during a mixer coordinated by the Lompoc Theatre Project and the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
“We’re making progress,” Herrier said. “It’s slow but steady.”
Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter@WJacobsonLR.
Perhaps you’ve seen the waterproof roof tarp wrapping the theater roof. From a bird’s-eye view, it appears as though the roof is covered in snow. But what matters down here on the ground is that this special tarp covering the roof has stopped water leaking into the theater for the first time in about a decade.
But the theater itself remains dark. We know you haven’t heard a lot from us since we won the title and deed to the theater building in January 2016, after almost three years of negotiations with the previous owner’s lenders, including federal, state and local government entities.
Officially owning the building finally gave us access to every nook and cranny of the building for the first time. It completely revealed the sad state of affairs into which our once proud theater had fallen. Undaunted, and with a new commitment, we rolled up our sleeves and immediately got to work.
So here’s the inside story on what we’ve been doing quietly behind the scenes, and an inside look into the theater itself:Read More
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her husband, writer/director Brad Hall, have made the first major donation to the Lompoc Theatre Project, kicking off the nonprofit’s capital campaign to restore and reopen the theater, board members announced today.Read More
Jul 25, 2016, by Willis Jacobson email@example.com
A nonprofit organization that is working to restore and reopen the old downtown Lompoc Theatre recently has made progress in its efforts.
The Lompoc Theatre Project’s board of directors last month made the first payment against the delinquent property taxes owed by the previous owner of the historic building. This means the theater has been removed from Santa Barbara County’s list of properties in default for unpaid taxes.Read More
We at the Lompoc Theatre Project are beyond thrilled to announce — via social media, and at a news conference we just held— that we now own the deed to the historic Lompoc Theatre, built in 1927.
Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Jed Beebe cleared the path Monday, Jan. 25, for the Theatre Project to take ownership of the theater when he granted the nonprofit’s petition to foreclose on the previous owner, Lompoc Housing and Community Development Corporation (LHCDC).Read More
During its annual membership meeting Sept. 22, the nonprofit Lompoc Theatre Project membership elected four new board members and renewed terms for two existing board members.
The new board members are Lompoc residents Michelle Ball, Raymond Down, Jenelle Osborne and Nancy Shaw. Founding members Carol Benham and Jack Carmean, also of Lompoc, were also re-elected to continuing seats on the nine-member board of directors.
“We’re delighted with the addition of these four talented, dedicated Lompoc residents to our board of directors,” said Mark Herrier, LTP president. “We’re stronger than we’ve ever been and are ready to hit the ground running when we take possession of the theater later this year.”Read More
After more than three years of wrangling over ownership and liens on the downtown Lompoc Theatre, the Lompoc City Council voted Tuesday to sell its $700,000 deed of trust on the theater to the nonprofit Lompoc Theatre Project for one dollar.
The sale of the deed for $1 to the Lompoc Theatre Project will allow the nonprofit to proceed with an uncontested foreclosure on the theater’s current owner, Lompoc Housing and Community Development Corporation (LHCDC). The foreclosure process is expected to take about 90 days, according to Mark Herrier, President of the Lompoc Theatre Project.
"For the first time since this organization has been formed, we finally control our own fate, and have the ball in our hands,” he said.Read More