Councilmember Bob Blumenfield is proud to unveil his vision for a new ‘Canoga Parks Art Hub.’ With the Madrid Theatre on Sherman Way, Canoga Park Youth Center, and the new Canoga Park Stage Arts Lab (CPSAL), Blumenfield and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) are creating new opportunities for all types of local artists to help the community become a greater destination for business and culture. Utilizing Community Redevelopment (CRA) Excess Bond Funds, Blumenfield was able to leverage monies that could only be used for community reinvestment projects to help develop these exciting projects. He also was able to provide additional city funds to make it happen.
Reinvesting in the Madrid Theatre
The Madrid Theatre, located at 21622 Sherman Way, has long been a staple for arts and entertainment in the West Valley. Beginning in 1928, the original Madrid Theatre served as a silent movie house and was one of the first buildings in Canoga Park. Since the theatre has gone through many incarnations but it was severely damaged in the 1994 Reseda/Northridge Earthquake. In 1998, the DCA purchased the site and, with the help of federal grants, millions of dollars were invested into helping the theater get back on its feet.
Now, Blumenfield is bringing the Madrid into the 21st century. He recently announced $8.5 million in improvements to upgrade everything from the stage, lobby area, and the addition of needed amenities such as new restrooms. The renowned architectural firm Gensler won the RFP and renderings of the improvements are now available.
Creating an Incubator for Local Arts With CPSAL
In December 2018, Councilmember Blumenfield and the City of Los Angeles purchased the newest city-owned performing arts center in the West Valley. Dubbed the Canoga Park Stage Arts Lab (CPSAL), this site will serve as an incubator space for all types of local artists. For decades this theater, formerly home to the West Valley Playhouse, served as a unique stage for local theater and Blumenfield wanted to ensure that it would continue to for years to come.
When Blumenfield found out that the former West Valley Playhouse property was on the market to be sold to the highest bidder, he wanted to make sure that this Canoga Park venue would not be lost. He believed it could encourage live dance, music and theater in the West Valley and Los Angeles. With creative thinking and strategic partnerships, Blumenfield has helped save this site. Under city leadership it will not only become a new home for the development of local performance arts projects for many years to come, but it will serve as a key element in realizing Blumenfield’s dream for the new Canoga Park Arts Hub that will help transform the area.
Located at 7242 Owensmouth Ave. in Canoga Park, the petite performing arts center seats about 150 people and was formerly a Masonic Lodge before it was transformed into a theater in 2000. Blumenfield used $1.395 million in excess Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) bond funds to purchase it. These are funds that can only be used for community revitalization efforts and cannot be utilized for issues such as public safety or homelessness. The theater will be operated by DCA and be available to various community theater and performance groups from throughout the region. It will be operated in coordination and collaboration with the Madrid Theatre to create synergy and new possibilities.