SP Society of the Arts will be returning to Depot when renovations completed

September 24, 1999
Santa Paula News
The Santa Paula Society of the Arts sent a representative to the Council meeting to let city leaders know that they have not forgotten their home at the Depot. According to a city official, the society will be back home when interior renovations are completed. The society, founded in 1968, was displaced from its office, gift shot and gallery space at the historic Depot - its home since 1977 - located at the corner of 10th and Santa Barbara streets, over two years ago, at the city’s request to make way for the rehabilitation project.Since then, the society has made do with fragmented gallery space throughout the city.Gene Marzec of the SPSA read the letter from society President Lynda Gruber that noted it was written to, “Make sure that we, as patrons of the arts for our community, are not forgotten as progress is made in the remodeling of the Santa Paula Depot.”The letter noted that the society was the “major organizational instrumental in the saving,” of the Depot, as well as in the formation of the Santa Paula Community Fund that took over Depot ownership after it was almost destroyed by Southern Pacific. The SPSA was the building’s first occupant and redecorated it.“. . .we feel that a reminder is needed that we are looking forward to going back to our home base in the Depot which we have occupied since 1977. We want to make sure that we are not forgotten as we have contributed for many years to our city’s cultural climate,” Gruber’s letter concluded.It had “been a while since we had any communication from the city,” she said later, and rumors that Fillmore & Western Railway was negotiating for Depot space prompted the SPSA letter.The Chamber of Commerce, also a long-time presence at the Depot, had not been asked to relocate.
According to City Manager Peter Cosentini, remodeling to bring the Depot up to ADA compliance should soon be launched, and “Our plan is and always has been to have the art society,” move back into the facility. “We view them as an asset and we want to work out an appropriate deal,” where the society will offer special events in lieu of the rent they formerly paid, a plan that Gruber said the society would be “delighted” with.“The arts are so so much a part of tourism and we want people to see the art the society has to offer as soon as they get off the train. . .that’s very, very powerful,” added Cosentini.“Very conceptual discussions” with the chamber and Fillmore & Western didn’t jell, he added, due to “mixed feelings“ on the part of the chamber board of directors. Between the SPSA, chamber and city, “I think we’ll all have a very happy marriage. . .”

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