Proposed Board Agenda for Monday March 24, 7-9pm at La Peña

7 – 7:05: Approve Proposed agenda

7:05 – 7:10: Approve last board meeting notes from Feb. 3, 2014 meeting.

7:10 – 7:20: Public input

7:20 – 7:35: ED and Staff report – Kristen

7:35 – 7:50: Finances – Eric

7:50 – 8:05: Update on café – Ellen

8:05 – 8:20: Facilities – Paul

8:20 – 8:25: Miscellaneous

Set next board meeting

8:25 – 9 pm

Closed Session:

EC Report and Recommendations

La Peña Board Meeting Minutes, Dec 16, 2013

LP Board Meeting – Monday, December 16, 2013

Present: Mariola, Paul, Victor, Carol, Alex, Eric, Francine, Kristen, Ellen, and Sarah.

Meeting started at 6:15pm.

1.    Approve notes from the Nov. 18 mtg.

Carol moves to approve minutes from 11/18/13.

Paul seconds.

All in favor.

Sarah, Victor and Mariola abstain (not part of the Board at the moment.)

2.    Welcome new board members Sarah Guerra and Victor Martinez and renewed board member Mariola Fernandez.

3.    Report from ED: Kristen sees the need to form an active fundraising committee. This is a primary duty of the board, and we have an enormous opportunity between now and June 2015 with the Building Our Future campaign to be followed by 40th Anniversary activities.

ACTION: Kristen and Eric will look at the budget to determine if LP has money for hiring someone to help with fundraising.

Agreed: in the meantime we should keep a roster of ideas for fundraising; have another phone banking before the end of the year.

ACTION: Kristen will send an email to the board to inform of date for phone banking.

Addressing letter sent to the Board from some community, mural, and chorus members:

ACTION: Kristen will respond to the letter.

Points to cover: regular communication will be through our website; we are planning to go through with the renovations; schedule for the renovations; give numbers for the different phases; programming plan; general direction of LP; we look forward to open communication; we are willing to address the concerns; we are committed to our founding principles.

4.    Financial committee (financial review) by Carol of finance committee:

  • Thus far, for fiscal year 2014, our financial results are in line with the budget projections: Total revenue from the door has met our projected budget and also our overall operating expenses are in line with our budget projections.
  • We’ve received about $40,000 for the capital campaign with an additional $35,000 in pledges.
  • We’ve been doing very well with grants, particularly with key ones such as Hewlett and Haas.
  • So far we’ve taken the investment for the Café from the General Operations fund of the Cultural Center. We are not sure yet if we can use the endowment money for the Café. We are doing additional research.
  • For the most part we are living within our budget with minor variances.
  • Total budget for renovations, including contingencies: around $110,000. We have more than that amount available in cash, not including BOF pledges.
  • We would not be sending out a good message to our funders, donors, etc. if we delay the start of the project.


5.    Mural Report:

The mural group has raised most of what they’ve spent. The artists have been asked to do some touch ups on faces that some have complained about. The mural group has a plan/commitment to raise the money needed for this, which is about $3,000. There are some lights to put up too.

6.    Report from the Café Committee:

Things have been challenging. LP has invested $50,000 so far of which about $26,000 at this time is lost. The past month and a half has shown improvement in revenue.

We’re adopting a new approach to what we’re serving and doing popup kitchens where we bring a guest chef to handle the food service while the Café keeps proceeds from the sale of beverages. The most successful one so far has been the Flamenco cuisine, ñora. We are planning to start opening on Tuesdays. We are also getting interest from restaurants to take over the daytime business as a concession. The idea is that they open for breakfast and lunch and they would leave at 2:30pm. They would pay a rental fee and have a 1-year maximum lease. We had a tasting from one of these businesses and the board was very happy with the results. We also have interest from 2 more businesses. The deadline for proposals is December 20 and the Café board will make a decision by January 6. In terms of programming, there has been a lot more in the Lounge with many exciting events. We will try this arrangement for the next few months to see where we stand and re-evaluate as needed.

7.    Report from the Café Committee:

The construction schedule is being developed. Programming for February should be okay.

ACTION: Kristen will send out a report after hearing construction scheduling details this week.

8.    Capital Campaign updates (see financial report above).

9.    Kristen’s leave: Kristen presented her plan for maternity leave including time off and part-time work

10.   Set February meeting: Monday, February 3 from 6-8pm at La Peña.

Meeting ends at 8:30pm.

La Peña Board Meeting: AGENDA for Feb 3

Starting this year, a portion our board meetings will be open to members of the community.  Come by for a chance to interact with the board, offer ideas, share concerns, and hear about new developments.

Our next board meeting is on February 3rd, 2014, 6 pm at La Peña.

La Peña Board Meeting


6:00 – 6:05: Approval of Agenda

6:05 – 6:10: Approval of December 16 Minutes

6:10 – 6:20: Public Comment

6:20 – 6:30: ED Report

6:30 – 6:40: Capital Campaign/Fundraising Update

6:40 – 6:50: Financial Report

6:50 – 7:05: Cafe Report

7:05 – 7:30: Renovations Report

7:30 pm: Closed Session

We’ll see you there!

A Home. A Hub. A Catalyst…and a Bright Future

Year End Letter from Executive Director Kristen Sbrogna

January 1, 2014

In 2013, La Peña embarked on an exciting journey to revitalize the center and re-envision our role as a true “peña,” a gathering space for art, activism, culture, and building community and connection. As we look forward to our 40th anniversary a year from June, we have more to accomplish, but the view from here is bright.

Like many arts organizations, La Peña experienced a drastic budget reduction following 2008 due to cutbacks in foundation funding. In order to stabilize and revitalize the center, the staff and board laid forth an ambitious plan including structural reorganization, major renovations to the building, new cultural programming in our lounge space, and repositioning the café as a La Peña venture. As we stand on the brink of a new year, I am happy to report that we are well on our way to a reinvigorated and renewed La Peña.

Renovate, Innovate, Engage

2013 saw the launch of La Peña’s capital campaign: Renovate, Innovate, Engage. We raised over $100,000 in the first six months of the campaign, enough to launch the first stage of our building renovations.

This winter, watch as our building transforms!

You may have already seen the beautiful restoration of our Song of Unity mural, and soon the rest of the building will have a facelift. Phase I of the renovations includes a new façade and entryway, sidewalk café seating, improvements to the ticket booth, lobby, and theater entrance, and the addition of an ADA bathroom. Look for information about our grand re-opening celebration this spring!

Café La Peña opened in July with a fresh look and new cultural programming in the lounge space adjacent to the café. Café La Peña is a food hub, presenting pop-ups, cultural nights that combine the arts (music, dance, and/or visual) and cuisine of a particular country or region, and our own regular menu. Regular cultural nights celebrating music and food from Chile, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Peru offer hard to find and authentic flavors.

Our new lounge programs continue La Peña’s commitment to arts, activism, and social justice. Local organizations hosting monthly forums on current issues include Food First, CENSA (Center for the Study of the Americas), Global Exchange, and Bay Area Skeptics. La Peña’s 2nd Gen (the “younger” organizers in our community) host monthly open-mics, dj nights, and live music.

The repositioning of the café has allowed us to develop these exciting programs while opening up a new revenue stream for the center, all the while continuing our regular programming in the theater.

2014 will see the completion of our first phase of renovations, commissioning of innovative work by local and international artists, expansion of our arts education program, and further development of cultural programming in the lounge.

Transition is not easy for anyone or any organization. Among La Peña’s other recent challenges, our beloved director of nearly three decades, Paul Chin, retired. The departure of such a dedicated and inspiring leader was difficult, but we are fortunate to have Paul serving as one of our top volunteers in his new role as board chair. Paul left me some big shoes to fill, but I’ve learned in my first several months on the job that there are many others in these shoes with me. I’m honored to serve this incredible community and to be doing such important work, and I’m so grateful to everyone who came before me and laid such a solid foundation. As I look forward to 2014, I feel we have weathered the storm; there is no doubt that La Peña will grow and nourish future generations while maintaining a firm connection to its roots and its history.

As always, we could not do our work without you, and we rely on our community for support. If you are reading this, you are part of that community! I invite you to deepen your involvement with La Peña in 2014. Come to more programs. Take a class. Bring a friend to a forum. Volunteer. If you can, donate. Be part of the movement. Be part of La Peña!

Aquí Nos Vemos.

In Solidarity,

Kristen Sbrogna

Executive Director

La Peña Holiday Craft Fair

logo_testSmall La Peña’s Holiday Craft Fair

Are you a crafts person interested in selling your art to a community that is passionate about social justice, and supporting local economies, if so, we have the right place for  your merchandise. Fill and submit the form below to  by Monday, December 2, 2013. Space is limited so don’t hesitate to sign up. The craft fair will take place at La Peña on  Saturday, December 14   10 am – 4 pm.

Download the application form here

La Peña merch giveaway and Razoo update!

Do you love music and dance? Do you support arts and activism?  Are you in favor of arts education?
Then you should keep reading!
In case you missed it, we recently launched our legacy campaign, Building Our Future, on Razoo.
What is this campaign about?  What are your goals?  What is a Razoo?
Glad you asked!
La Peña has three main goals for this campaign: Renovate, Innovate, and Engage.
-    We need to renovate our building to give it a more modern look
-    We aim to provide more groundbreaking and innovative programming
-    We strive to continue to engage our current audience and reach out to younger generations
Awesome, right?  We already started the renovations by restoring our Song of Unity mural, which is the picture on the top left.  The bottom right picture is a rendition of how we plan to remodel the exterior of the cafe.

These renovations will serve as a foundation through which we can build our innovative programming and reach out to future generations of artists and activists.
The renovations and ideas are great, but I’m still wondering what a Razoo is.
Razoo is a crowdfunding site specifically for non-profits like La Peña.  We set up a campaign page for Building Our Future, and on this page, you can read more about our goals, you can donate, keep track of our progress, and watch our campaign video. Click here for our Razoo page, and click below to watch our video.

Oh, that’s cool!
We think so too.  Our first week is wrapping up with $2730 raised so far.  $2000 was raised offline, and $730 was raised online.
Is there anyway I can help?
Yes! Crowdfunding is all about joining forces with other individuals who are passionate about the cause. They are active in spreading the word in person, and especially online.
If you’ve ever been to La Peña, taken a class, rented the space, or in any other way been involved, you know that it is crucial for places like us to exist.
La Peña provides opportunities for artists to share diverse cultural traditions, to create and perform their work, and to support and interact with diverse social movements.
We need to keep these activities going strong, and we need people like you to help us spread the word about our mission and our campaign!
Yes, YOU.  You can help make a difference.  You can help with a donation, a facebook share, a facebook post, a tweet, a retweet, and an @reply.  Throughout the month of November, we will be giving away La Peña bumper stickers, and La Peña hats to people who are most active in sharing our posts on Twitter and Facebook.

This just in! If we raise at least $1000 through Razoo between now and Nov 18, an anonymous donor will match it with an additional $1000 to La Peña! Double your donation to increase the impact of your gift!

If you haven’t donated yet, or have considered donating, please do so before Nov 18th.  Help us reach our goal!  Let’s tell everyone #IamLaPeña
For the month of November, we will be doing some giveaways for those who are most active in sharing our campaign from our Facebook, and retweeting it from our Twitter.


Did you say free La Peña merch?
We sure did! Here are the details -

15 retweets and/or @replies will get you a La Peña bumper sticker (First 10 people)
15 shares on facebook will get you a La Peña bumper sticker (First 10 people)
20 shares on facebook will get you a La Peña hat  (First 5 people)
Like us on facebook and follow us on twitter.
Use the share and retweet buttons below our posts – this is how we will be keeping track of who is most active on sharing. Shares and retweets MUST originally come from our page.
All shares, retweets, and @replies must be Building Our Future/campaign related
If you choose to @reply us on twitter, we will retweet them as long as they are campaign related.
Remember to use #IamLaPeña and #BuildingOurFuture for your shares/posts
You can only claim one prize. (If you have 20 shares on Facebook and 15 retweets on twitter, its your choice between a hat or sticker.)
Share, retweet, and @reply all throughout November!  Winners will be announced on our facebook page and twitter page on December 2nd.  If you see your name on our list of winners, send us a message through facebook or twitter, and we’ll either set up a time for you to pick up your prizes or we can mail it to you.
For a limited time, we will also be bringing back complimentary tickets to one of our shows if you donate! $50 & up = 1 ticket to a show, and $100 & up = 2 tickets to a show.  Let’s reach this goal!
Another way to get involved with our campaign is by sending in your own pictures, like this one:

We will be making a collage out of all of the pictures that we get, and posting them on our social media pages throughout our campaign.  Write #IamLaPeña on a piece of paper, take a picture, and send them to our Facebook inbox or upload it and use the hashtag so that we can see it.
Your efforts and support online will help us get that much closer to reaching our goals! 
You’ll see. The end result is going to be…

Mill Valley Film Festival 36 Presents: Today (Hoje)

Today movie screening Mill Valley Fm

Mill Valley Film Festival 36 Presents

Today (Hoje)

North American Premiere

In Portuguese with English subtitles. Vera pops open a bottle of champagne as she savors the first few moments in her new apartment in downtown Sao Paulo. Her celebration is interrupted, however, when her husband, Luiz, mysteriously appears at her home after being gone for decades. Luiz learns that the apartment was purchased with compensation money from the government after his disappearance in the dark period of Brazil’s military dictatorship. Next, the couple embarks on a painful journey through their haunted past. Shot entirely inside Vera’s apartment, the film’s intimate tone transports the viewer into the secret depths of the couple’s relationship as the spaces around them start molding to their stories. Carried by Denise Fraga’s quietly riveting performance, Today meditates poignantly on the challenges of reinventing oneself after the loss of a loved one, and on the realization that one must first remember the past in order to forget it.



Sat, 10/5 8:15 PM Mon, 10/7 4:00 PM

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center 1118 4th St., San Rafael

Tickets available September 15

Online: By Phone: TOLL FREE 887‐874‐MVFF(6833) In Person: Locations


Fund Your Next Project Now – USA Projects

 USA Projects

Fund Your Next Project Now

Dear Artists,

La Peña Cultural Center invites you to participate in USA Projects, an online fundraising platform dedicated to supporting artists.

Why fundraise on USA Projects?

-  Receive 1-on-1 guidance, training and support throughout your fundraising campaign with a dedicated Program Officer. 

-  Tax-deductibility for every donor, meaning bigger donations on average ($124) for your project. 

-  USA Projects has a 75% success rate, with over 5 Million dollars raised thus far. 

-  Artists will now receive 100% of the funding they raise. No final service fee or credit card charges will be deducted from your funds, unlike other for-profit crowd-funding websites.
Get started. Enroll now at

Art Exhibit by Sasha Colin. Cubanos: An intimate look at Cubans in the 21st century.

Exhibit Date: August 1-30, 2013
Sasha Colin3-smSasha considers herself to be a Photojournalist/Fine Art Photographer. Photojournalist because her work depicts and focuses on current events and capturing the moment as it truly is without any manipulation of the subjects. However, her formative training was in  Fine Art Photography and while she  strives for her work to have some kind of social signifigance, she cannot but help the creative way she articulates her vision.
At the age of 14 she was given her first camera, it was then that she  began to love life through a lens! She moved to San Francisco in 2005 and spent 2 years studying Photography at The San Francisco Art Institute. She left to pursue other artistic endeavors but her passion for the medium has withstood the test of time.
She  has just recently begun  exhibiting  her work  around thr bay area. In 2012 she had a solo show at Alliance Francaise in San Francisco and her collection “Cubanos” will be showing at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley in August 2013. She will also be a part of a group exhibit for San Francisco Open Studios in October 2013.


Café La Peña – Menu

Screen shot 2013-07-26 at 1.23.58 PM



Click here for a PDF of the menu

our website is

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