Livermore Arts has started a series of interviews, "Beyond the Stage," conducted by Executive Director Chris Carter with members of the arts community.
The first interview, held at the Bankhead Theater and online now, features former Alameda County supervisor Scott Haggerty, who retired this month after his sixth and final term. Haggerty, a Livermore resident, has been a champion for the arts, and is generally credited with the building of the Bankhead Theater.
"I can't tell you when I ran for county supervisor that one of my main accomplishments would be getting a performing arts center built, but I can tell you it's probably one of my prouder ones," Haggerty said.
Haggerty said his first foray into the arts was playing young Scrooge in the play "Scrooge" at Mattos Elementary School in Fremont where he grew up. But a more painful memory was his father running for Fremont City Council in 1974, and being defeated, with one of his stated goals to build a performing arts center.
"There were actually people criticizing him for wanting to do that. I never understood why," Haggerty said.
Haggerty remembered when he took office 24 years ago that the county had just approved the mega dump in the Altamont, which would entail dump trucks running up and down Interstate 580 all day and cutting through Livermore.
"We started negotiating a settlement and one of the things we negotiated was a community impact fee," he said.
Meanwhile Livermore leaders told him about their grand idea to build a performing arts center downtown.
"I thought, 'That's really cool. I want to be a part of that,'" Haggerty recalled.
The impact fee ended up going to the city of Livermore and toward the Bankhead Theater.
"I guess this is, 'One man's garbage is another man's treasure,'" Haggerty said.
Carter asked him why it is important to support the arts.
"Because nobody else will," Haggerty said. "I'm referring to government ... and maybe because there's just so many pressing issues ... When ... I look at all the fine donors you have, that donate anywhere from money to equipment, those people are the heart of the community. Those are the people who get it."
"This (the Bankhead Theater) is the heart of the community," he added. "This is where it beats. You have to continue to invest in your heart, because if you don't have it, you lose as a community."
The video of the Haggerty interview as well as a transcript are available at livermorearts.org.
Future interviews on how the arts have influenced their lives will include symphony conductor Lara Webber, radio personality Faith Alpher, jazz musician Matt Finders, opera director Erie Mills, singer/guitarist David Victor and classical pianist Jon Nakamatsu.