In Moya’s memory

When Reno arts maven and philanthropist Moya Lear donated seed money to get a new performing arts venue off the ground, she counted on the community to do the rest of the work. But some people assumed that Lear, who died in Reno last week, would finance the whole project.

“She wanted this to be a community theater, not a Moya theater,” says Susan Mayes, director of Reno’s Theater Coalition.

The Lear Theater in downtown Reno is a $9 million project—and that’s the stripped-down version of the plans, Mayes says. So far, the Theater Coalition has about $4.7 million. The group still needs another $4 million.

Extensive assessments of the project show no spendy excesses.

“It is not an extravagant project,” Mayes says. “Moya just wanted it to be an excellent venue for quality programming, not a church with performances in it.”

Mayes encourages patrons of the arts in Reno to attend the Jazzmas pre-party with several recording artists Dec. 21. Not only is the event well worth the $150 ticket, but $70 of the ticket cost goes directly to the Lear Theater.

In honor of Moya, the Theater Coalition pledges to honor her wishes to create a theater that “gives audiences a quality atmosphere to experience whatever performance is taking place with comfort, beauty and harmony,” Mayes says.

"She didn’t see it, but everybody’s going to have to trust that she’ll know it happened."