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ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE

Tustin Group Aims to Get Venue Built

March 30, 2001

A grass-roots arts support group in Tustin says the city needs its own visual and performing arts center, and aims to draw attention to its cause by debuting with a "Broadway in the Park" musical production this summer in Pepper Tree Park.

The longer-term goal of the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts, an independent group, is a complex with two theaters--one with 750 seats or more--as well as an art gallery, studios and administrative spaces.

Such a project would require a huge fund-raising effort. Ten years ago the 750-seat Irvine Barclay Theatre cost $17.6 million; backers of an effort to refurbish the vacant Balboa Theater in Newport Beach as a 350-seat performing arts venue say it will cost $6.5 million.

The Fine Arts council has established a nine-member committee to begin planning.

The first step, said local actor Stuart Eriksen, a committee member, is to "do a show, let people know we're here and demonstrate that we need some sort of venue."

Joshua Carr, a committee member and partner in a Tustin-based production company that stages musicals, said the arts council would need to raise $15,000 to $20,000 to produce the planned kickoff show in the park this August.

As for building a permanent arts complex, Carr said, "It's a little ambitious. . . . But it would be great to have a performing arts venue in Tustin."

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