FRIENDS OF THE BRENTWOOD ART CENTER
September 4, 2012
Dear Brentwood Art Center Community Members and Friends:
A group has now been formed that is working hard on re-opening the Brentwood Art Center ("BAC"). We are calling ourselves the Friends of the Brentwood Art Center ("Friends").
Friends consists of teachers, parents with children that have taken classes at the BAC, community leaders and persons that have taken classes at the BAC or have spouses that have taken classes at the BAC. We all love the BAC and want to see it re-open and prosper.
We began to reach out to the BAC community immediately upon learning that the BAC would close. In the week since the announcement, we have received a remarkable response from the community indicating a strong desire that the BAC remain open.
During the past week, our group has made significant strides toward reopening the BAC. We have had extensive discussions with the owners of the BAC building and land (the "Owners"), who founded the BAC some 41 years ago and ran it for about 35 years. We have also had extensive discussions with the immediate past operator of the BAC (the "Operator"). In addition, we have contacted both the Faculty and the staff, who are critical to the BAC's ongoing operation. These discussions leave us cautiously optimistic that it will be possible to reopen the BAC as a community-based, nonprofit organization in the near future.
Please note that we are not affiliated with either the Owners or Operator. Although the former Operator still has a lease with the Owners for one more year, they have told us they are all committed to working with Friends to permit Friends to enter into a new Lease with Owners and take over the operation of the BAC. The Operator has stated he would donate the BAC assets to Friends. The Operator has also pledged to return all deposits or assign them to Friends with your consent to be applied to the cost of fall classes if the BAC re-opens.
It is apparent to Friends that the operation of the BAC is a labor of love for those that love the arts. It is not a venture that will always make money. For that reason, if re-opened, Friends would operate the school as a non-profit corporation (and would apply for tax exempt status). This status would allow the BAC to operate as it did in the past, but would also allow the BAC to solicit tax-deductible donations, partner with local art museums and other schools, and engage in other fund-raising activities.
We believe it is crucial to the success of the BAC going forward to have adequate funding. We are exploring various potential funding sources. It is apparent, however, that a key source of funding will be the BAC community.
We are asking whether you would be willing to donate to Friends to allow Friends to reopen and operate the school. Right now, we are not yet asking you to write a check, but are asking you to tell us of your willingness to contribute so we can determine if we will have the community commitment and funding to operate a vibrant and successful BAC.
If you would be willing to make a donation to Friends, please let us know by replying to this email, and please state the amount you would be willing to donate. Although Friends is attempting to obtain a few large donations, we are also seeking an indication of your willingness to donate $5,000 or more (although we would certainly welcome contributions of lower amounts if you are unable to contribute $5,000). Once we are sure that we have enough capital to re-open the BAC, and have the structure in place to accept donations, we will contact those willing to make donations with more information. Your indication of a willingness to donate at this time is not a legally binding commitment. However, it will allow us to determine whether adequate funding will be available.
If you would be willing to donate your time to help Friends during this transitional period, please let us know by replying to this email. There is much to do. For instance, you could help by returning calls, calling former students about enrollment and helping with fund raising.
If you are a technology person, we could use help establishing a new website and computer system to allow enrollments and payments on-line.
The BAC has enriched so many of our lives. It has existed for 41 years and is deeply engrained in the fabric of the community. The outpouring of support from you to save the BAC have been overwhelming.
Friends will continue to provide you with updates on our progress. Please also feel free to contact any of us listed below if you know us from class or from within the community.
We thank you for your support.
FRIENDS OF THE BRENTWOOD ART CENTER
(listed in alphabetical order)
Don and Patti Burris
Pierre and Florence Chapgier