Building a Better Modesto

Modesto Art Museum

Funding Received: 2013
Modesto, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
February 18, 2014

-- Final preparations are being made for “Modern Art Kimono,” the exhibit of early 20th century Japanese kimono that were inspired by European modern art. The exhibit runs March 18 to April 27, 2014.

-- Preparations continue for “Modesto Design” and “Modesto Design Week.”

-- The Modesto Art Museum has accepted an invitation to be a member of the Downtown Design Committee, the group that is taking on the task of reviewing and initiating design related projects in the downtown including the Modesto Design District. Besides reviewing public art projects, the committee will engage in creating a new parklet (see below).

-- The Downtown Promotions and Hospitality Committee will assist the museum in producing “Modesto Design Week,” May 10-17,2014.

-- Preparations for the Modesto Architecture Festival are well underway. The festival will be dozens of events over nine days in September.

-- All of our activities promote, either directly or indirectly, a vision of downtown Modesto as a design district, a place for residents and visitors to experience and enjoy design of all kinds.

Recent Wins
The city’s Downtown Design Committee has selected another site for a parklet. It will be in the parking space in front of a popular café on the main street of the Modesto Design District. Two previous parklets are on the corner of 10th and J Streets, about one block from the new site. This is a win because it supports our work changing perceptions about downtown Modesto. It helps create a more hospitable place, in this case, one where people can meet and linger with others. The design phase will begin shortly.

Another win for the area is the continued absence of large flocks of birds that for many years gathered in the downtown area in the evenings from fall to spring making street life unpleasant. The birds returned briefly in the fall but did not stay.

The challenge for the museum over the next several months—one of several challenges—is to institutionalize the activities, events, vision, and perceptions we are creating in the design district now so they will continue into the future. We are including the public and private sectors, the city, the business and property owners, and other community groups with the hope that we will all continue to work together in the coming years to improve the quality of life in the city. I especially want the community to understand, experience, and appreciate the vital role the arts, architecture, landscape, and urban design have in creating a better Modesto and how an art museum can make an important contribution to the well being of the community.