Creative Arts Building Highlights

 1956: Pittsburg voters approve a $5 million bond measure, the largest in the history of the state, which builds the Creative Arts Building, Hillview Jr. High School and adds classrooms at two elementary schools. (Bond originally passed in 1955, but lawsuit about absentee ballots negated the election.)

1959: Creative Arts Building opens.

The Stars: The Creative Arts Building was the home of the Contra Costa Concert Guild during the 1960’s. The San Francisco Symphony made yearly appearances here, along with the San Francisco Ballet. A wide variety of international acts also played here. The highlight of the Contra Costa Concert Guild was Louis Armstrong’s appearance here. Other luminaries to appear in the Creative Arts Building are Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Dave Brubeck, James Brown, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Mitch Miller, whose first comment to the audience after leading his singers in their opening number was: “My, God, we’re in a real theatre,” Joe Tex, the Jefferson Starship, which held its exclusive Bay Area appearance of its 40th year anniversary show at the CAB, and Lowrider Band, featured performers at the CAB’s 50th anniversary May 28, 2009. The CAB is also the home of the award-winning Pittsburg Community Theatre.

The future: The nonprofit Pittsburg Creative Arts Building Corporation in cooperation with the Pittsburg Unified School District and City of Pittsburg is working to restore the building. It has raised $500,000 from individual and corporate donations as well as grants and totally restored all 242 seats in the Little Theatre and 1,510 seats in the Big Theatre. When all the seats are restored, it will continue with additional improvements and maintenance of restored seats. PCABC volunteers have dedicated more than 5,000 hours to the restoration cause. The Creative Arts Building is currently closed while undergoing a $9 million modernization of its sound and lighting systems and backstage technical operations with money coming from bond issues passed by the Pittsburg voters and the State of California. When the building re-opens, it will also be the home of the Pittsburg Entertainment & Arts Hall of Fame.

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