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The Building Imagination Center is a visual arts and media hub in downtown Modesto. Working with the Modesto Art Museum, the Center provides the community with a visual arts gallery for world class photography, sculpture, paintings, and contemporary art mediums, such as video, animations, and interactive content.

Through its Resident Filmmaker Program, the Center brings regional documentary video artists to Modesto to actively engage the community with hands-on video creation, and to provide real world experience for California State University Stanislaus film students. It is the Center’s mission to create an environment where artists can work, thrive, and feel supported by the community, and then to catalyze this growth and leverage it to benefit the local community by creating a vibrant activation of the downtown art scene.

ArtPlace spoke with Jessica Gomula-Kruzic, Director for the Building Imagination Center, about the next moves for the Center.

ARTPLACE: How will the work that you’ve begun be sustained after your ArtPlace grant ends?

GOMULA-KRUZIC: Unfortunately, without the outside funding, we will not be able to afford to remain in our current location. However, while we will not be physically located in Modesto, our work and involvement with the Modesto community will continue and move forward through the projects we have begun here, such as continuing to offer film screenings, specifically for Modesto’s Third Thursday art walks. Additionally, we will be making more pedestrian friendly enhancements to the downtown corridor, such as our short-term ‘parklets’, with permanent improvements to the walkability of the sidewalk through the use of shade, lighting, and art.

We are also working with Modesto’s Downtown Hospitality group to create a ‘public art block’ outside the Center’s current location. With the full support of our city planners, several pedestals are being provided for the installation of public sculptures downtown, and plans are in the works to build an archway across the street to match others nearby, as well as to increase the number and diversity of wall murals throughout the community. Additionally, we will continue specific activities in the future, such as screening films in the public courtyard outside the Center, and working with the LOVE Modesto volunteer organization to create a Chalk Walk of Art, which we will be doing in April.

ARTPLACE: How has this work affected the work you will do beyond the grant period?

GOMULA-KRUZIC: The ArtPlace grant has enabled us to work with government agencies and with people from within other organizations that we would not have initially thought to align with, such as the Stanislaus Alliance for Arts Education, but also with the Pen Women Society and the Modesto Hotel Council. These new partnerships have expanded our reach and brought about community awareness of the visual arts through exposure to the art exhibitions and art forms previously unavailable to this region. Our resident filmmakers have helped us to create a model for working with community groups to create new documentaries with and about Modesto. This, in turn, has allowed the public to see parts of their own community that they weren’t aware of before, and a chance to contribute to creating artwork in a manner they had not been able to before. Our work with our current partner, the Modesto Art Museum, has also allowed us to bring in artists from outside the region, and the state, and has greatly enriched our programming. We are plan on continuing and building upon all of these relationships and networks in the future.

That’s how art works with the community and for the community, expanding its horizons and bringing about cultural and economic growth.

And that’s what the Building Imagination Center has helped us to achieve.