Occidental Center for the Arts Circa 2008

The Occidental Center for the Arts continues to provide a welcoming and accessible venue for the performing and visual arts in Occidental, California. This was their website in 2008.

The new owner of this domain is a supporter of the Occidental Center for the Arts and not only wanted to keep as much of the original content as possible, but also direct any visitors who ended up here to the centers current website.
Content is from the site's archived pages.

The current website for the Occidental Center for the Arts is found at http://www.occidentalcenterforthearts.org/

Visit their website to learn about all their ongoing events as well as up coming events

4008 Bohemian Highway
Occidental, CA 95465
(formerly Harmony School, now Harmony Village
Bohemian Hwy & Graton Rd,


PO Box 1019
Occidental, CA 95465
(707) 874-9392



The Occidental Center for the Arts exists to provide a welcoming and accessible venue for the performing and visual arts in Occidental, California. Our mission is to enrich our community by providing diverse cultural experiences that inspire, educate, and entertain.


Our feasibility study conducted by AMS Planning and Research showed that Occidental and Bodega Bay are affluent, educated communities that provide an ideal location for an intimate performing arts facility. The full time population of over 3,000 people has twice the national average of college-educated individuals, and median household incomes a third higher than the national average. Part time residents and tourists significantly increase the potential audience on summer weekends.

Over the last three years, our neighbors have pitched in on work days, come to planning meetings, donated money, and attended an eclectic series of monthly concerts, plays, readings, movies, parties and other events at the OCA, proving beyond a doubt that there is an enthusiastic audience for an art center in Occidental.


Doris MurphyIn 1998, Occidental activist Doris Murphy and Redwood Arts Council founder Kit Neustadter founded the Occidental Center for the Performing and Visual Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a home venue for the Occidental Choir, the RAC concert series, and other artists in Occidental.

In 2003, Orrin and Terri Theissen agreed to create Harmony Village> on the site of the closed Harmony School, and to donate a classroom and the multi-purpose room to the OCA.

Kit NeustadterSince then the OCA has added board members and volunteers, turned the classroom into an office and art gallery, and hired an interim director. We have hired an architect and an acoustician who created plans for turning our multipurpose room into a world class performance space. In 2008 the final map for Harmony Village was approved and our way was clear to launch a capital fund raising campaign to finance the completion of our plans and the construction of our dream art center.






Occidental OdditiesPatrick Ball RAC Concert of Music and Story Spacer Occidental Choir Reunion Concert Spacer Gallery Grand Opening Art Show Spacer Ernie Shelton Dek-tette Plays Jazz Standards Spacer Dream House One-Woman Show Spacer "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" Film Spacer Women's History Literary Reading Spacer Star-crossed Lovers Cabaret with Andrea VanDyke Spacer Wassailing Early Music Concert Spacer "Rezistans: The Real Haiti" Film Spacer Comedy Night with Local Writers Spacer Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble Concert Spacer Winterlude Concert with Daniel Celidore Spacer Stories for a Sunday Afternoon Spacer Recorder Group Steve Bruner's Standup Comedy Spacer Stretching Boundaries Word Festival Spacer Dustin Coupe Magic Show Spacer Nina Wise in an Evening of Improv Spacer Chester Aaron Reading Spacer Occidental Oddities: Local Comedy Writers Spacer Heritage Days Reception Spacer Italian Food & Cinema Series Spacer "Flushed Away" Movie for Kids & Families Spacer May Maybes Reading of Poetry & Short Stories Spacer Halloween Haunted House Spacer Love Jam Valentine's Day Concert Spacer "Cuba: The Power of Community" Film Spacer ArTrails Party


The Redwood Arts Council presents ten classical chamber music concerts a year, for the past 28 years. The Occidental Center for the Arts' renovated auditorium will become the beautiful, spacious, comfortable, and acoustically optimal home stage for RAC concerts.

Music GroupThe Occidental Community Choir was founded 29 years ago and has grown to a 40-member organization. It performs two major concert series a year, featuring almost exclusively music composed and arranged by its members. The Choir will also find a home venue at the Occidental Center for the Arts.



Re-Membering Harmony
Project Statement for the Harmony Memorial

Harmony Memorial Project

For years the Occidental site of Harmony School has lain vacant, neglected and subject to vandalism. It sat as a broken shell, a sad reminder of what once was the vibrant center of our community.

But today, as both global and local factors shift, change has come to our little town of Occidental, and change is coming to Harmony school. What once was the site of a public school -- a unifying institution which helped shape the minds and hearts of thousands of children with the help of over two hundred faculty and staff -- will become multiple new public and private spaces.

The school site is currently in transition. Where once there was a playground where we played softball, soon will stand houses. Where once there were classrooms, soon there will be offices. Where once there was a cafeteria, soon there will be a performing arts center. The Occidental Center for the Arts, along with researcher Dr. Nadja Masura, invite the community to claim this transition of place by inviting members of the community to get involved in our Harmony memorial project.

Project Description

As an inaugural arts project, the OCA is showing its commitment to becoming a place for community by commissioning the Harmony Memorial Project which will:

  1. Research the school and collect and digitize information
  2. Conduct interviews or records of oral history
  3. Create a log of these digital records
  4. Use these records to create a site-specific event at Harmony/OCA which involves the community.

In order to honor the memories of Occidental's former Harmony School and the more than 3,200 parents, students, teachers, and staff who constituted it, we'd like to ask you and yours to contact us with any photos, stories, or artifacts you'd like to share.

Get Involved

There are several ways you can participate:

  • Email digitized photos or send (with return stamped envelope) us your photos (especially of the playground or classrooms) along with a signed statement giving OCA permission to use the image. Likewise, if you have access to yearbooks, school papers, or other memorabilia, please contact us.
  • Contact us if you'd like to be interviewed about being a student, teacher, or staff member at Harmony (Occidental Campus). Interviews will be held by appointment at the Occidental Campus/Construction Site, at the Media Arts Center in Santa Rosa, or in home if requested by disabled persons or families with multiple school alumni. If you are not in the area, you may read the interview questions posted online and email or send in a video message (along with statement of consent to use this information).
  • Donations and volunteer support are appreciated. Later stages may include further aspects of community participation. Let us know if you or your kids are comfortable performing infront of others.


Contact us for additional ways to get involved. If you would like to become involved in the Harmony/OCA Project, you can contact us by phone: (707) 829-1270 or email- please indicate if you were a student, teacher, etc.).



A Successful Beginning

Since receiving Orrin and Terri Thiessen's generous gift of our auditorium and gallery space, we have raised over $75,000 to fund interim repairs, minor renovations, and day-to-day operations. Now that ground has broken on the Harmony Village project, there are many new opportunities for donors in our Capital Campaign.

Naming Rights

Perpetuate Your Contribution to Our Community:

  • Auditorium................... $200,000
  • Art Gallery................... $100,000
  • Lobby Gallery................ $50,000
  • Plaza/Water Feature...... $50,000
  • Amphitheater................. $50,000
  • Stage............................ $30,000

Wall of Fame

Listed prominently by name in the new lobby:

  • Founder's Circle...... $25,000-$49,999
  • Major Donors.......... $10,000-$24,999
  • Sustaining Donors...... $1,000-$9,999

Plaza Pavers

  • 100-Letter Inscription of Your Choice, Engraved on a 12" x 12" Paver in the New Plaza...... $275 Each



Volunteer Opportunities

For OCA events, we need people to prepare mailings, make phone calls, set up chairs and tables, take tickets, usher, serve food, and clean up.

To prepare for renovations, we will need demolition help in stripping the slats and acoustic fabric from the auditorium walls, removing and capping plumbing fixtures, cutting down trees, moving bushes, ripping the ceiling tiles off the auditorium, making dump runs, and so on.

When construction starts, we need help to repair the door to the gallery furnace room, sheetrock the gallery ceiling, move the stage and band shell, landscape, and replace the auditorium house lights.

For those who want to embrace a stewardship role, we are accepting applications to join our Board of Directors.

In Kind Donations (Stuff We Need!)

  • Late Model PC
  • Laptop with DVD Player
  • Late Model All-in-One Printer/Fax/Copier/Scanner
  • Sound Gear: Monitor Speakers, Mics, and Stands
  • 12-16 Foot Wide Pull-Down Movie Screen
  • Stage Lighting: Lamps of All Kinds, Dimmer Packs, and Gels

Payment Information

Please make all checks payable to Occidental Center for the Arts and mail to:

Occidental Center for the Arts
PO Box 1019
Occidental, CA 95465


Phase 1Completed!

We acquired our auditorium and gallery space, and completed our conceptual plan.

Auditorium, Gallery Space (6,000+ Sq. Ft.), and Land Parcel $700,000
Architectural Design Documents 25,000



OCA Conceptual Plan



OCA Open Air AmpitheaterOCA Plaza and Theater Lobby

OCA Gallery, Lobby and PlazaOCA Night View



Phase 2

We will finish drawings, pull building permits, and build a new 750 sq. ft. lobby and a new 460 sq. ft. plaza with fountain. We will improve auditorium acoustics, increased seating capacity, install new house & stage lighting, and renovate the restrooms.


Drawings, Engineering, Permits, Water, and Sewer Fees $50,000
Connections for Power, Water, and Propane 68,000
Lobby, Plaza, and Landscaping 116,000
Auditorium Acoustical Treatments 55,000
House and Stage Lighting 29,000
Upgrade Existing Restrooms 32,000


Phase 3

We will build a new 493 sq. ft. flexible stage with wheelchair lift, install new raked seating for better sight lines, remodel the art gallery, and build 700 sq. ft. of new backstage area. On the west side of the auditorium we will build a new kitchen, restrooms, storage, and outdoor amphitheater stage & shell.


Stage, Backstage, and Stage Right Storage $159,000
Raked Seating 82,000
Gallery, Office, and Box Office 59,000
West Wing: Green Room, Storage, and Kitchen 207,000
Water Feature 45,000
Amphitheater Shell 48,000