Friday, April 4, 2014

New PFA Building Update

Recently, I received an email which updated PFA members on the status of the new BAM/PFA building.  The new building has long been set to open to the public in "Early 2016."  I assumed that meant business as usual until the Winter Break of the 2015-16 school year.  I figured they would install the art work and film equipment during the break.  At most, I thought a month on both sides of the break to account for the holiday season and contingencies.

The email informed me that "Our rich program of film screenings will continue at the PFA Theater through July 2015. "  That means the PFA will be closed for at least 5 months and maybe longer depending on the exact date of "Early 2016."   The Berkeley Art Museum "will be programs as of mid-December 2014."  They'll be closed for over a year at a minimum.

Soon after receiving the status update email, I received an email inviting me to take a survey about the new BAM/PFA building.  The survey mentioned that there was still a multi-million dollar shortfall in fundraising for the privately-funded project.  Another question asked the likelihood of my remaining a member if they raised membership dues.  That doesn't sound very promising.

It will be strange to have the PFA closed for such an extended period.  Since I last perused their website, artist's renderings of the new building have been posted.  The theater has stadium style seating; approximately 12 rows of 20 seats.  Frankly, it doesn't look much different than a theater in any new cineplex.  Undoubtedly, the seats will be more comfortable but I kind of like the student seats with flip-top desks.  It reminded me of my college days.

For me, the biggest benefit about the new building is its closer proximity to Downtown Berkeley BART.  The current PFA building is a 15 minute walk from BART.  The new building is less than 5 minutes from BART.

From the artist's rendering, it's unclear if they will project movies onto an exterior screen or if the James Stewart image is a mural.

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