By Chris Frost
Oxnard—The community conversation about what people would like to see at the Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center (PACC) continues with breakout sessions where each member of the group offered suggestions about the future.
Members of the PACC board gathered with community members Aug. 8 and heard the latest about efforts to bring a new operator on board by Jan. 1 and remain a vibrant arts hub in the city, and not close its doors.
Lupe Andiano came to the event because the art is the heart of the people, regardless of their ethnic background.
“The population has changed,” she said. “The youth are involved in the arts, but many older people are not involved because we lived in a golden age. We had the best music, the best art, and the best everything.”
She does see value in the PACC moving forward, and its most significant attribute is the diverse and young population.
“One of the big mistakes that I think the city has made is they see the Latino population as being poor and always on welfare and needing services,” she said. “The truth is that the great majority are educated and are moving to a higher middle class. “
She suggests a census of the Oxnard population, so they can understand what people will pay for.
“The wealth of Oxnard is not out working,” she said. “We’re always fighting with city hall, and we’re tired of fighting with city hall. We want a better understanding, and a lot of us are talking the same language.”
Dave Ragsdale came to the meeting because of his wife.
“My wife runs a non-profit ballet company that has been performing here for 16 years,” he said. “Whoever gets the contract to run the PACC, it does have a community theater feel, and that goes back to when I was a kid. It’s a venue that can handle much larger acts and headliners but keeping a connection with the community is important.”
Larry Schloff lives in Ventura, but he considers himself a local resident.
“Ventura doesn’t have anything quite like this,” he said. “I’ve seen so many things, like symphonies, movies and there is a group called the Syncopated Ladies. It has lots of potential.”
Angela Whitecomb said the PACC is the cultural center of the city.
“I used to perform in the band in the auditorium,” she said. “We used to have Broadway-type performances here, and I would like to see them come back and have that connection again and have this be a jewel.”
Katie Behrens grew up in Oxnard and spent much of her childhood at the PACC.
“My parents took square dance lessons here,” she said. “We had a teen center, we had the battle of the bands, and there were a lot of things to do as a teenager. That’s one of the things we need to do; bring back things the kids will like.”
PACC Executive Director Carolyn Mullin wanted to discuss K-Pop and needed more information.
“You’d have to talk to my daughter,” Behrens said. “Go to the source.”
One thing that came up was exploring the possibility of using the PACC’s commercial kitchen more.
“There are a lot of commercial caterers that need to have a commercial kitchen, and that’s the law,” Behrens said. “They go out and rent them, and it can bring in revenue. I don’t know the ins and outs with the insurance, but we should be using that big kitchen. It’s awesome.”
After the meeting, Mullin said, reaching out to the kids at the schools to see what would motivate them to use the PACC is a brilliant idea.
“On Aug. 30, we have Cola Boyy coming up, and he played the Coachella Stage this year,” Mullin said. “He’s an Oxnard native, and he’s having an event here. He is a young demographic.”
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Oxnard, California 93030
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