Bowie performing arts center agreement signed
By ANNETTE ESTERHELD Staff Writer
No curtains were raised or house lights darkened, but it’s official – the Joint Use Agreement for the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts has been signed.
Three of the four parties involved, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the city of Bowie and the BRAVA board, all signed the document more than a year ago. The fourth party, the Board of education, voted to sign it last Thursday night at a meeting.
Al Golato, BRAVA president, the local group that was formed to oversee the construction of the center, quietly drove to the county school board office with other BRAVA members Friday to meet with schools chief JohnDeasy to pick up the agreement signed by Bea Tignor, school board chairman, at her home earlier Friday.
With the same lack of fanfare, Golato met with City Manager David Deutschlater the same day for the official city signing. Then Monday M-NCPPC’s Barbara Funk of the department of parks and recreation, arts and cultural heritage picked up the signed agreement from BRAVA Vice President Mary Nusser at the center.
“Now that the JUA has been signed by all parties, we will be releasing the last of the funds, which should occur shortly,” Funk told the Blade-News. Those funds, which Funk said would be handled in a wire transfer, total approximately $900,000 and will be used to complete the construction at the building.
Golato said he expects the final construction and purchasing of items will take approximately four to six months to complete. There will be a governance board consisting of representatives from the four groups,and the center’s day-to-day operations will be handled by a facilities director/manager who will be an employee of the Board of Education. The governance board will consist of two members from the school board and one each from BRAVA, the city and M-NCPPC.
The center, located adjacent to Bowie High School, is the outgrowth of a vision the community had of a regional performing arts center, and the BRAVA group was formed in 1995 to help make the vision a reality.
Longtimeboard member Golato said that completing the negotiations and signingthe JUA was his goal when he was elected president of BRAVA a littleover a year ago.
Golato said heappreciates all the hard work of BRAVA members and its 17-member boardand the executive committee, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement.
“I thank them for their patience and for bearing up under numerous obstacles in getting the center finished,” he said. Golato said he especially wanted to acknowledge the hard work of board members Nusser and Hugh Reams.
“Mary’s historical counsel, administrative and all-around assistance have been invaluable,” said Golato, “as has been our construction chairman, Hugh Reams, who offered professional and technical knowledge.”
Golato also praised the work of founding president Gordon Stewart, who led the BRAVA organization through its first decade.
Funk said the M-NCPPC is looking forward to planning and scheduling arts programs at the center once the final construction details are completed.
Golato said making the center fully operational is “not an overnight process.”
He noted that “during the transition period, some testing events need to occur to check final systems installations that will also assist in the training of the permanent staff that will be hired by the governance board.”
“The Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, aside from filling a sizable state-of-the-art cultural and entertainment venue gap in the Bowie area and also permitting Bowie High School students to have an auditorium, will serve as an economic development catalyst for the revitalization of the Route 450 corridor through Bowie,” said Golato.