Arts and Culture

Mountain View Center for the Performing ArtsWant proof of the celestial beauty of theater? Look no further than the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

Major star power has graced its stages since the doors opened 25 years ago. Celebrity performers include Audra MacDonald, Robert Redford, Al Gore, Della Reese, Paula Poundstone, “Wicked” creator Stephen Schwartz and a slew of award winners and Tony nominees.

That’s just part of the reason why more than 170,000 people visit the Silicon Valley theater annually. In 2014-15, the venue put on about 400 performances with an annual operating budget of only $1.5 million.

The theater is located at 500 Castro St. in Mountain View – just 40 miles south of San Francisco. Because it is a more modern facility, it is fully accessible and offers services such as assistive listening systems, which help patrons who are hearing impaired.

“I don’t think anyone fully realized what was started back in the late 1980s when the city of Mountain View decided to dedicate part of its new Civic Center Complex to the arts,” Executive Director W. Scott Whisler wrote. “But those visionaries knew that however it evolved, a public

theater space would be important to the economic and cultural wellbeing of the newly redeveloped downtown, as well as to the surrounding community and region.”

The center is operated by the City of Mountain View – specifically, its Community Services Department. MVCPA offers performance art, dance, both classical and modern music and theater productions. In addition, it hosts visual arts displays, films, corporate promotions,

festivals, high-profile meetings and lectures. It also was the site of the first reading and first full production of Tony Award-winning (Best New Musical) “Memphis.”

In hopes of cultivating a future generation of arts appreciators, MVCPA offers children’s shows, too. 2016 titles included James and the Giant Peach Seussical: The Musical and the popular “Stories on Stage,” which brings adaptations of popular children’s books to the stage.

The venue prides itself on nurturing local partnerships with organizations and schools like Pacific Ballet Academy, Western Ballet and Bayer Ballet – companies that inspire a passion for dance in Silicon Valley’s youth.

The Center also hosts two home companies: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and Peninsula Youth Theatre. These arts organizations perform a significant portion of their seasons in MVCPA theaters and contribute to the overall success of the venue, according to officials.

The Center has a trio of performance locations referred to in-house as MainStage, SecondStage and ParkStage. MainStage is the largest theater, offering 600 seats in a proscenium-style design to offer unobstructed views and a seating plan that minimizes theater depth so all patrons feel close to the action: the last row is only 68 feet from the stage. This stage also features nine removable trap pieces that assist with such awesome illusions as, say, witches melting.

In 2013, this theater received a facelift that included new seats and carpeting – a first since it opened. “Millions of patrons attending thousands of events since the 1991 opening day had made their mark,” Whisler remarked at the time. “Now our newly-updated amenities are ready to welcome millions more.”

Strips of blue ribbons that dance across the ceiling serve not only as sculptures but, more importantly, as acoustical panels to optimize the theater’s sound. Other special features include three lifts and movable splay walls.

For smaller productions or even group events or meetings, SecondStage is ideal. Octagonal in shape and with a three-quarter thrust seating configuration, the theater can seat 150-200 and offers movable seats and risers so that the space can shift to suit various shows’ needs. One day, it’s a cabaret – the next, a theater-in-the-round. Lastly is ParkStage, a casual amphitheater with lawn seating for up to 300 people. It’s here that you’ll find free, 45minute summertime shows put on in partnership with Peninsula Youth Theatre’s summer camp program. The stories change weekly but are based on fairy tales and other children’s stories.

The theater is a well oiled machine that functions with a small paid staff and, like many arts programs, relies heavily on volunteers. About 325 folks volunteer as ushers. “We are so lucky to have our volunteer usher crew who gave us 12,869 volunteer hours in 2015,” said Liz Nelson, ticket services manager. “We couldn’t do it without them.”Del inisto optiissitio beate quam aut estistet, officilique num hiliquia parchicae rehenducium quos periati untiis quis ducius volupta temporem voluptae.

Board of Directors

Chair of the Board
Kim Copher
Coldwell Banker

Immediate Past Chair
Tom Myers
Community Services Agency

Chair Elect
Lonnie Gary
Young, Craig + Co, LLP

Board Members

Sarah Astles
Opal Night Club

Diana Bautista
Stanford Children’s Health | Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

Bobby Chastain

Cecile Currier
El Camino Hospital

Katie Ferrick

Dawn Girardelli
Foothill College

John Igoe
Google, Inc.

Mike Mathiesen
MVLA High School District

Larry Moore
Larry’s AutoWorks

Matt Pear
Sidney Consulting

Alexia Penna

Jon Simms

Debbie Villa
Live Nation

Celia White
Recology Mountain View

Ex-Officio Members

Dolores Beasley
NASA Ames Research Center

Col. Greg Jones
USAF Air National Guard 129th

Capt. Eric Wahner
United States Army 445th


Alexander’s Patisserie
209 Castro St.
(650) 864-9999

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria
790 Castro St.
(650) 961-6666

Asian Box
142 Castro St.
(650) 584-3947

Bean Scene
500 Castro St.
(650) 903-4871

383 Castro St.
(650) 209-0383

Café Baklava
341 Castro St.
(650) 969-3835

400 Castro St.
(650) 940-9500

Drunken Lobster
212 Castro St.
(650) 282-5400

185 Castro St.
(650) 625-8155

191 Castro St.
(650) 426-0582

Fiesta Del Mar Too
735 Villa St.
(650) 967-3525

Fu Lam Mum
152 Castro St.
(650) 967-1689

Hong Kong Bistro
147 Castro St. #2A
(650) 968-8938

246 Castro St.
(408) 891-0567

La Fontaine
186 Castro St.
(650) 968-2300

Mediterranean Grill House
650 Castro St. #110
(650) 625-9990

873 Castro St.
(650) 968-1502

Olympus Cafe & Bakery
135 Castro St.
(650) 336-7613

Oren’s Hummus
126 Castro St.
(650) 938-6736

Phoenix Café and Juice Bar
650 Castro St.
(650) 282-5701

Posh Bagel
444 Castro St. #120
(650) 968-5308

Ristorante Don Giovanni
235 Castro St.
(650) 961-9749

Rumble Fish
357 Castro St.
(650) 961-9086

357 Castro St.
(650) 965-2000

Savvy Cellar Wine Shop & Wine Bar
750 W. Evelyn Ave.
(650) 969-3958

401 Castro St.
(650) 237-3132

Shell Shock
124 Castro St.
(650) 988-8880

Steins Beer Garden
895 Villa St.
(650) 963-9568

Tied House
954 Villa St.
(650) 965-2739

Economic Development

Mountain View has a unique dynamic, with not only a charming, pedestrian-friendly downtown, but also a significant portion of Silicon Valley – a technology district known worldwide for its size and scope.

Perhaps its biggest claim to fame is that it is home to Google – the city’s largest employer with nearly 20,000 jobs. But it also houses Intuit, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Symantec, Samsung and many others. Several auto companies have set up shop here, too. They include BMW, Volvo, Honda and Toyota.

The city strives to stay competitive with neighboring markets. That’s why the city passed a minimum wage ordinance that brings theirs up to $15 per hour by 2018. It has a vibrant downtown and technology sector, but it needs to keep reliable, long-term employees working in them.


Downtown Mountain View is special in that it’s historical with a mixed-use flair. City officials have made sure to maintain and promote its walkable environment because they know that’s a big part of the allure, especially when you consider the average age here is 35.

Downtown is located on 10 blocks of Castro Street between Evelyn Avenue and El Camino Real and boasts more than 20 retailers and 70 restaurants. It is home to a wide range of businesses, with everything from bistros to salons to home décor stores to a performing arts center. A major transit hub is located there, as well.

“We have a good balance of businesses in our downtown,” said Tiffany Chew, the city’s business development specialist. “However, I think it’s a delicate balance as we work to attract new businesses and retain our existing businesses.”

One particularly popular attraction is the farmers market – one of the 10 largest in the whole state. Up to 8,000 visitors flock to it on Sundays in the summer. Other events that the downtown puts on include classic car shows, trick-or-treating, festivals, a yearly spring family parade and a holiday open house.

The largest downtown event, drawing more than 200,000 guests in a weekend, is the annual Art & Wine Festival, ranked one of the best in the country. The event has been put on by the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce for the past 45 years, said Tony Siress, president and CEO.

The downtown has a rich history and is overseen and cared for by the Central Business Association (CBA), which was formed in 1960 when a handful of downtown merchants came together to redevelop the downtown. The CBA has since worked with the city council to form two special business taxing districts that generate $40,000 annually in order to fund advertising, promotions and special event/activities.

“Mountain View is very unique,” Chew said. “We’re fortunate to have a community that supports our downtown.”

In the past 10 years, it has seen significant change. Today it’s home to over 100 technology startups, as part of short-term accelerator programs funded by two globally-known technology incubators: 500 Startups and Y Combinator.

“That’s where our downtown has come into its own,” Chew remarked.

But with great success often comes great attention and demand. That’s why city and chamber of commerce officials are ramping up efforts to retain the businesses they’ve got.

Business Retention

With costs of both labor and rent climbing, and internet shopping rapidly growing in popularity, the local business climate is changing. Retail is evolving. And yet property owners (the rent-chargers) need to be satisfied, too. So it’s not uncommon to see flourishing companies and businesses suddenly finding themselves unable to afford a nearby larger space in which to grow.

Staff currently works to retain existing businesses by responding to situations where a business may need to expand or relocate and reaching out to businesses through the corporate visitation program and regional economic development programs. However, a new business retention program is in the works – the program will first focus on existing downtown retailers, Chew said.

There is also the thought that perhaps the future of retail could include new types of shops, such as storefronts with a smaller footprint designed to function as fitting shops – where customers try on items in store and then submit their order there online, Siress noted.

Recently, the city’s economic development team brought in real estate professionals to discuss retail trends. It’s a realistic approach to trying to stay ahead of the curve, Chew said.

It’s not a challenge unique to Mountain View by any stretch, but it’s something that the city wants to curb.

“It is easier to retain than to recruit,” Chew added.


A large majority of students who enter Mountain View Los Altos High School District (MVLA) leaves with higher education on the brain.

At least 94 percent of graduates have college plans, according to district officials. But academics are not where education ends here. The staff takes great care to create an inclusive culture that promotes a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

“We believe that high school students thrive when they make time in their busy schedule to reflect on their learning,” Superintendent Jeff Harding said in a statement. “We want our students to develop healthy habits and form lasting friendships.”

Bottom line: district officials want students to pursue their passions, no matter if they are found in academics, athletics, the fine arts, or other sources.

District: by the numbers

MVLA serves residents of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills – an area that’s been a technology hotbed since the early 1950s. Intel, Fairchild, Adobe, SGI and Sun were all founded here. Today it serves as home to global companies like Google, Microsoft, Linkedin, Intuit and Facebook’s Whatsapp among others.

The district has an annual operating budget of $77.6 million. It has tackled some larger construction projects lately, including the renovation of the locker rooms at both high schools. The Mountain View High library was also remodeled.

The district has 3,700 students among two comprehensive high schools. More than 70 percent of its teaching staff holds advanced degrees, according to administrators. Facilities consist of two comprehensive high schools, one alternative school and one adult school.

Hundreds of MVLA students receive honors every year. Recently, more than a hundred received impressive honors for their performance on national language exams, which the district funds via paying for test and processing fees plus printing costs. Teachers in the World Language Department say the opportunity to test their students this way is an excellent way to promote biliteracy – or the ability to read and write proficiently in two languages.

Of the more than 300 students tested at Mountain View High School, 145 of them received high recognition.

“I was overwhelmed by the results of the French National Contest this year,” said French teacher Clotilde Gres. “For the first time, my students took the test online. They did better than ever with more than 50 percent of my students receiving medals.”

At sister school Los Altos High School, 366 students received high recognition in Spanish, Latin and French. Mandarin is also offered.

“Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States, with over 160,000 students participating in 2016,” Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, national director of the exams, said.

District mission

This kind of success is what MVLA strives for in the following mission statement:

“We are committed to creating a community of learners with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to combine personal success with meaningful contributions to our multicultural and global society.”

To back that up, the district prides itself on having some of the highest student Advanced Placement and SAT exam scores in California. Superintendent Harding points to accolades from U.S. News and World Report that gave both Los Altos and Mountain View high schools a Gold Award for ranking in the top 2 percent of high schools nationally.

As for the arts, one particularly memorable moment from the past school year was when Mountain View High School’s chamber orchestra took the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York in April. The orchestra was one of eight featured in the New York International Music Festival.

“It was a truly wonderful experience. Not only was it amazing to get the opportunity to play in such a renowned hall, but the looks on the students’ faces when they saw the audiences reaction was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything,” music director Dana McDonnell said at the time. “I hope this is an experience that will stay with our students for the rest of their lives.”

Student Elvin Hsieh said it undoubtedly will.

“The 10 seconds I stood up to play my solo at Carnegie Hall were probably the best ten seconds of my life,” the violinist said. “I’m very appreciative of the fact that I was able to share this moment with some of my best friends.”

Health Care

Chiropractors and Acupuncturists

Dr. Lisa Devlin, D.C., M.S.
1265 Montecito Ave., Ste. 105
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 428-0950

Dr. Lucy Osgood
357 Castro St., Ste. A
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 798-9050

Movement Chiropractic and Wellness
694 W Dana St., Ste. A
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 429-8132

Dentists And Orthodontists

Christine Hansen, DDS & Roberta Jurash, DDS
416 Waverly St., Ste. A
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 326-3290

Dental Fabulous
756 California St., Ste. B
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 969-6077

Rouleau Orthodontics
1174 Castro St., Ste. 120
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 964-6400

Health Care Services

Avenidas Rose Kleiner Senior Health Ct.
270 Escuela Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 289-5499

Dr. Jay’s Wellness Center
2495 Old Middlefield Wy.
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 584-3123

Fitness Wave Nor Cal
Mobile Facility
Mountain View, CA 94041
(408) 786-7446

Grant Cuesta Sub Acute and Rehabilitation
1949 Grant Rd.
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 968-2990

Home Instead Senior Care
1006 Stewart Dr.
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
(650) 691-9671

Mountain View Healthcare Center
2530 Solace Place
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 961-6161


El Camino Hospital
2500 Grant Rd.
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 940-7000

Kaiser Permanente
555 Castro St.
Mountain View, CA 94040
(408) 366-4181

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
725 Welch Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(650) 497-8000

Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation
701 E El Camino Real
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 934-7000

Medical Innovation

The Fogarty Institute for Innovation
2490 Hospital Dr., Ste. 310
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 962-4560

Iridex Corporation
1212 Terra Bella Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 962-8100

1201 Charleston Rd.
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 251-6100



In the mid-1700s, Spanish explorers and missionaries arrive in California to find the Ohlone Indians and the Posolmi Settlement, located at present-day Moffett Field.

1842 – An 8,800-acre Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas is granted to Francisco Estrada and his wife, Inez Castro. This area would become Sunnyvale and Mountain View.

A 1,700-acre land grant of Rancho Posolmi, is granted to local Native American Lupe Ynigo in 1844. This area became Moffett Field.

1850 – A stage coach service begins near Grant Road and El Camino Real becoming the center of commerce in the Mountain View.

1854 – Jacob Shumway, store keeper, is credited with the naming of Mountain View.

1860s – Commerce began to grow even stronger. Henry Rengstorff, John G. Jagels and Charles Guth, build docks and warehouses to ship the region’s produce and supplies.

In 1888, a train depot is built along what is now Evelyn Avenue. The Castro family acquired the rights to their own train station.

1902 – Mountain View’s population has risen above 600 and modern improvements, including a telephone service and municipal water, are made throughout the city.

1905 – Farmers and Merchants Bank opens on Villa and Castro Streets. In 1926 it becomes a branch of Bank of Italy, later becoming Bank of America.

1909 – Town hall, the library and the city jail are placed on the southwest corner of California and Castro Street.

1911 – Minton Lumber Co. becomes one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in the city benefiting from the booming construction of the city.

1915 – California Supply Co., a pickle-packing plant on Franklin and Villa Streets, opens. Demolished in 1963, the site later becomes the Police and Fire Administration Building.

1920 – Hoping to create a major Bay Area port, South Shore Port Co. dredges slough at the old Jagels Landing. This begins a ferry and freight service to San Francisco in 1923.

The elaborate port project includes an amusement park and large saltwater swimming pool called Kingsport Plunge that opens in 1925. The venture fails and the company declares bankruptcy in 1927.

1924 – The city’s first high school had opened on El Camino in 1902. In 1924 a new school designed by noted architect William Weeks opens on Castro Street.

1930 – Feb. 20, 1931, President Hoover signs legislation approve the development on the West Coast Air Base in Sunnyvale. In 1933 Moffett Field Naval Air Station opens.

1937 – Bayshore Highway (101) opens on the Peninsula after 13 years of construction at a cost of $7 million.

1939 – Flight research begins at the Ames Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the predecessor of NASA).

1951 – Ferry-Morse Seed Co. opens plant on Evelyn and Highway 237. The company relocates to Modesto in 1985 and property is developed into a high technology business park.

1953 – Sylvania Electronics Corp. and General Telephone & Electronics (GTE) merge in the late 1950s and becomes one Mountain View’s largest employers.

1956 – William Shockley opens Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View. Employees from the Lab break away to form Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. The Fairchild founders later go on to create a shift in technology that redefined business in the 1970s.

1957 – A 50-acre retail center begins after the construction of Sears Department Store on San Antonio Road. After expanding in the ’60s the center is demolished and replaced by a 125,000-square-foot Wal-Mart.

1959 – Recreation Center Park opens only to later be renamed Rengstorff Park in 1970.

1961 – Voters approve formation of a new hospital district in 1956 and the $7.3 million bonds to finance the project in 1957. The El Camino Hospital is completed in September 1961.

Foothill College opens its new campus in Los Altos Hills. The college district formed in 1957 and by 1958 the college had first been housed in the former Highway School on El Camino.

1966 – Mayfield Mall opens. One of the first completely enclosed, carpeted shopping malls in Northern California. The 500,000-square-foot mall closes and later becomes GOOGLE X (“X”)

1983 – Shoreline Park and Golf Course opens. The 700-acre park is created in place of what used to be a San Francisco garbage dump. The amphitheater is completed in 1986 and now accommodates over 20,000 people.

1991 – Moffett Naval Air Station closes.

$44.5 million City Civic Center and Center of Performing Arts is completed.

Netscape Communications, an Internet service provider best known for its browser, is founded.

1994 – Yahoo! Is Founded.

1995 -Netscape is founded in offices inside the HP Campus: 466 Ellis Street, Mountain View

1997 – New public library located on Franklin Street opens.

1999 – VTA opened the Tasman West light-rail project, which extends trains from Santa Clara to downtown Mountain View.

2002 – The Computer History Museum whose mission is the preservation of computing history, moves to Mountain View.

Residential Living


Americana Apartments
707 Continental Cir.
(650) 968-0700

Heatherstone Apartments
877 Heatherstone Wy.
(855) 534-5309

Madera Apartments
455 W Evelyn Ave.
(855) 534-5328

Madrone Apartments
111 N Rengstorff Ave.
(855) 534-5332

Montrose Apartments
1720 W El Camino Real
(650) 567-3162

Park Place Apartments
851 Church St.
(855) 602-0203


Carmel The Village Apartments
555 San Antonio Rd.
(650) 948-4512

Mileage Chart

Distance to/from Mountain View
Sonoma (wine country) — 95 miles
San Francisco — 39 miles
Oakland — 44 miles
San Jose — 13 miles
Santa Cruz — 36 miles