Building a Better Modesto

Modesto Art Museum

Funding Received: 2013
Modesto, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
March 26, 2014

Members of the Downtown Design Committee, including Modesto Art Museum personnel, construct Modesto’s first bike corral

-- The Modesto Art Museum participated in the planning, design, and construction of Modesto’s first on-street bike corral. The corral is the first part of a parklet that will eventually include tables and seating. There has been a positive community response to the corral including articles, photos, and editorials in the Modesto Bee and ModestoView Magazine.

-- “Modern Art Kimono,” the exhibit of early 20th century Japanese kimono inspired by European modern, art has opened in the design district.

-- The Modesto Downtown Design Committee is selecting three designs from those entered for the design district’s bike rack public art project. The committee adopted a draft of criteria created with the Modesto Art Museum for the selection of public art in the city.

-- A key workshop leader has been secured for the Modesto Architecture Festival. Spirit of Space will lead a workshop on architecture video.

-- The museum’s online historic design district architecture tours received positive attention from “ModestoView” Magazine, the Modesto Bee, and from a local congressional representative who recommended the tours on his Facebook page.

Recent Wins
-- Restoration for use as an office building has begun on the former design district post office building. The restoration is preserving the historic architecture and depression-era murals.

-- Construction has begun on a half-mile extension of the Tidewater Trail, a rails-to-trails project that will connect additional densely populated residential areas on the north side of Modesto with the design district.

-- The Downtown Consortium, an association of organizations that have a vested interest in downtown, has accepted the master plan worked out for the future of the area developed by the city with broad based community input, including from the Modesto Art Museum. The consortium includes Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Modesto Downtown
Improvement District, Modesto Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, business owners, real estate interests, and property owners.

I am feeling optimistic about the future of downtown Modesto—specifically for the success of the design district—because never have so many different community groups cooperated in the development of a plan for the area. For more than a year, many individuals representing various constituencies, including the Modesto Art Museum, have been meeting in three different groups to develop a vision and master plan for the entire downtown including the design district. The effort is lead by the city through the Community and Economic Development Department. The three groups are the Downtown Promotions and Hospitality Group, the Downtown Operations Group, and the Downtown Design Group. The entire population of the city was invited to contribute their own views through both online and in-person surveys. More than 800 responded to the survey, providing a wealth of information. Implementation of the plan is already underway and activity will increase dramatically in the coming months.