By: Matt Milde
The long awaited goal of achieving over 55-days use of the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center
(M-A PAC) has been reached! As part of the joint-use agreement with the Sequoia High School District, the City is allotted a minimum of 55 annual program days at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center. Since the theater opened in fall 2009, the City had not been able to maximize the allotted minimum days of use due to a number of hurdles including theater rental costs, level of staffing, fiscal support, theater size, scheduling limitations among others. After only utilizing 11 program days in both 2009 and 2010, the Community Services Department
refocused its efforts to attract professional performing art organizations to the theater. At the time, the most successful usage of the theater had been community rental groups using city-sponsored days. With this in mind the Menlo Park Grant for the Arts
(MPGA) was designed in 2012 to allow organizations that might not otherwise have the opportunity to utilize the M-A PAC, due to financial constraints, the opportunity to receive support from the City to perform in the venue. The MPGA now awards 10 organizations $500-$3000 annually to support the Menlo Park artistic community and programs that benefit local residents. Grant funding, compiled with increasing community relations and developing partnerships, has contributed to the gradual increase in City-sponsored dates for public programming. In FY 2016-17, the City supported 59 days of performing arts programming at the M-A PAC, impacting an estimated 20,000 people with professional ballet, chamber orchestras, dance, jazz bands, movie sing-alongs and community galas. We are proud of this milestone and look forward continuing to build partnerships in our community to promote performing arts in Menlo Park.