Building Imagination in California’s Central Valley

California State University, Stanislaus College of the Arts

Funding Received: 2012
Turlock, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
August 6, 2012

The Building Imagination Center will be a new visual arts hub in downtown Modesto, CA. The Center works with the Modesto Art Museum to provide the community with a visual art gallery for world class photography, sculpture, paintings, and many other traditional art mediums. The Center also actively engages with the community through a Resident Filmmaker Program. The Center leverages its video residency program to bring regional documentary video artists into Modesto, to involve the community directly in hands-on video creation, and to provide real world experience for CSU Stanislaus film students. Providing a wide variety of free events, it is the Center’s mission to create a vibrant activation of the downtown art scene.

ArtPlace spoke with Jessica Gomula-Kruzic, Director for the Building Imagination Center, about the goals of the Center and the downtown art scene in Modesto, CA.

ARTPLACE: What is your elevator pitch when you describe your project to people?

GOMULA-KRUZIC: We are transforming a vacant storefront in downtown Modesto into the Building Imagination Center, a space for video and visual arts exhibitions, arts education, and artist residencies.

The Center will provide a link between CSU Stanislaus, the Modesto Art Museum, and Modesto’s downtown cultural district. It will provide a physical space for exhibiting visual arts in a non-commercial gallery, and will regularly host visual arts programming through the Modesto Art Museum’s Building a Better Modesto program. The Center will host video screenings and visual art receptions which will coincide with the downtown ArtWalk.

Using a relaxed "48-hour documentary filmmaking" model, resident artists will work with community groups to create original documentaries, using CSU Stanislaus students as cinematographers. Community members will be an integral part of the production process. Half of the resident artists will be CSU alumni, encouraging them to stay in the area and building a bridge between their academic and professional careers.

ARTPLACE: How do you expect to increase vibrancy in the place you are working?

GOMULA-KRUZIC: The Resident Filmmaker Program will use established video artists to draw interest and viewers from the surrounding region into Modesto for the monthly video screening events.

Working with local groups, the Building Imagination Center will create a distinctive presence in downtown, dramatically intensifying the level of arts activities and opportunities in the developing cultural center of Modesto. The community groups will help to market and socially support the films produced. Additionally, their interactions with the filmmaking process, and attendance at free videography workshops will put marketable skillsets back into a wide spectrum of the community.

The videos produced through the artist residencies will be screened through large-scale outdoor video projections coinciding with the year round Third Thursday ArtWalks. With a projected attendance of 150-200 people, these video events will create a vibrant activation of the streets, provide free art experiences for city residents, create a new arts presence in the Central Valley, and change how this mid-sized city sees itself.