Curtain falls on fledgling Performing Arts Center
ARTS:Lack of funds, dispute with building's owner cited for theater's early demise.

Our Town Editor

REDLANDS   The Rainbow Theater is changing again.

The Redlands Performing Arts Center is no more. In its place will be a retail shop, said Calvin McLean.

The small theater on Vine Street, tucked inside and behind the larger Fox Theater, was being cleaned out Wednesday, in preparation for its changed role.

An apparent misunderstanding, and lack of funds, were singled out as the culprits in the collapse of the heralded Performing Arts Center. George Henderson, who worked with RPAC leader Lee Clark, blamed the requirement for a $30,000 sprinkler system, which had to be installed before the group could produce its planned events.

Operating on a shoestring, the RPAC group had hoped to produce events to raise funds to help in the renovation of the small theater, he said. Only one event, a haunted theater in October, was produced.

McLean said the lease RPAC signed included the fact the group would be responsible for repairing the interior of the Rainbow. "We gave them the property 'as is,'" McLean said.

"The agreement in the lease was they'd do whatever work was necessary."

McLean said he understood RPAC had support from many people and groups, but that the support "fell through."

Henderson said RPAC had "tremendous support" locally and that, with the help of Redlands Conservancy and the YWCA, had managed the rent for November. He was working with Clark "as a volunteer" to put on a benefit to help RPAC with its expenses.

However, the inability to produce funds for the sprinklers meant the play planned for December, and the January productions, had to be canceled.

Henderson said he felt the responsibility for a working sprinkler system should be that of the building's owner. He criticized McLean for not taking responsibility for repairing the sprinklers.

Bob Clark, head of Redlands Conservancy, said his group had helped RPAC by allowing the arts group to use the Conservancy's 501C number. That let RPAC collect funds and hold them for distribution as needed for rent and repairs.

Clark (no relation to Lee Clark) said the Conservancy had done that with at least one other nonprofit group because it takes so long for an organization to get the paperwork cleared to receive its own number.

He also said he thought the owners of the Fox "expected more than (RPAC) could do."

Lee Clark, leader of RPAC, could not be reached for comment.


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