We have an opportunity to contribute to our community doing something that will truly affect the lives of children for generations. It is not often we are presented with a situation where the people of the community can do something that will make Reedley and the surrounding communities a better place to live.
To stand up for the arts and education is an important part of a full and meaningful life. Unfortunately today, there is little money allocated, at the local level, for the humanities. Art does create culture. Completing and contributing to the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts will generate a sense of pride for our communities, long after we are gone. We have an opportunity to deliver an experience at this level, that would enlighten all of us. There is a whole other world outside of our daily lives waiting to be explored and enriched.
Take this opportunity to do something for our community. Contributions are important, but involvement in making our communities a better and more meaningful place to live should be our goal. Art is, after all, an expression of our triumph's and flaws. It is what makes us human.
The Peters’ name is synonymous with philanthropy and you can’t help but see it sprinkled throughout the Central Valley in a legacy that has over the decades become a family affair. His brother Leon S. Peters once told Peter Peters, “You can’t take everything out of the community without putting something back in.” Pete, certainly lived up to that brotherly advice. The youngest son of Armenian immigrants, the Peter boys longed to attend college. Instead, he and his brother, Leon S. Peters, worked hard and gained reputations as honest businessmen who were generous benefactors.
Pete P. Peters joined Valley Foundry and Machine Works in 1939, shortly after his brother bought the business, which manufactured wine grape crushers. During World War II, however, the business made ship winches and values for the armed forces. The business returned to winemaking equipment in peacetime. Valley Foundry was sold to Ametek (NYSE:AME), where Peter continued his career as Vice President until he retired at 73.
The Peters brothers decided to share their gains of their success with the region through charitable foundations. Success spurred Peter to form his own charitable foundation. The Pete P. Peters Foundation that is guided by the words of Pete’s father: “Give back to the community.” Until is passing in 2012, he believed a strong education and health care are integral components which make good communities great. We are honored and grateful for the gift of $500,000 to build the Pete P. Peters Theatre inside the McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts at Reedley College.
Deb and Greg Lapp and the Clark Family Foundation are proud to support the McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts, something Reedley College and the greater Reedley College community have needed for a long time.
From our vantage point, as educators and performers in the literary arts, music, and theater, we feel hosting renowned authors, speakers, or actors in a cafeteria or lecture hall is inadequate. We feel the students of Reedley College deserve to feel proud as well as excited when they come to see the author of their One Book One College read or host a musical group from another college or a university. We feel that engaging in the arts, from the architecture to the performances and artwork on the walls, uplifts people.
The arts, we believe, are an important way to educate and to cultivate ideas of humanity. Higher education without the arts is not reaching high enough. And one reason we educate, we believe, is to develop an appreciation for the arts.
We also see the McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts Building as a way to connect with the Reedley College community, the artists, readers, and thinkers in our local towns. We are excited to see Reedley College become a cultural destination and landmark for our corner of the Valley, and we are proud to be art of that effort.