Building a Better Modesto

Modesto Art Museum

Funding Received: 2013
Modesto, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 20, 2014

Cover of the new Modesto Art Museum publication “Modesto Modernism.”

Most of the activity of the last month has been behind the scenes. Volunteer architecture tour guides for the design district are being trained; preparations are being made for the Modern Art Kimono exhibit, the Modesto Design exhibit, and Modesto Design Week; planning is underway for the 7th annual Modesto International Architecture Festival in the fall; and invitations have gone out for architecture movies and proposals for the public art project.

In the last two weeks, several short architecture movies have been submitted for this year’s festival including entries from China, Spain, and Brazil. More than 25 local women educators came to a museum presentation about architecture and design in Modesto.

The museum publication “Modesto Modernism” is being well received in the community and is available online for educators, visitors, and residents. The publication accompanies the new movie of the same title available for watching at

Recent Wins
The good news this last month was the announcement that downtown Modesto, including some of the design district, will be the site for a three day go cart Grand Prix race in August 2014. Newspaper articles estimated that more than 15,000 people would come into the area making it one of Modesto’s largest events. The art movie house in the design district, the State Theatre, has successfully raised enough funds to update their screening equipment and has completed the conversion process to the latest digital devices.

The Modesto Art Museum has always challenged traditional notions of what a museum is and does because it has neither its own space nor an art collection. Our program, Building a Better Modesto is continuing to challenge what a museum does in a community. We are finding it necessary to educate Modesto residents to this new model for an art museum, a museum that is engaged in the community, actively working to improve the quality of life for everyone through the arts, architecture, landscape, and urban design.