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
October 31, 2013

The Building Imagination Center has been very active with public outreach efforts this month. The Center’s Director spoke at the 2013 Annual Conference of the League of California Cities about the creative placemaking that has been happening in Modesto. The panel, Creative Placemaking: Using Art and Artist to Revitalize Your Communities, focused upon how cities can kick-start momentum with arts organizations, and contemporary ways to put arts and culture at the heart of increasing vibrancy and act as the economic driver for people to thrive.

The Center has just completed filming the Modesto International Architecture Festival and is working with California State University film students to edit two short films. One will focus on the festival’s keynote speaker Russell Abraham, a noted architectural photographer. The second will focus on the festival itself and how it serves as a springboard for creative placemaking efforts through an examination of the built environment.

The Center is also developing Round 3 of its Augmented Reality Game, which focuses on raising public awareness about quality of life issues, and re-imagining solutions to them. The Center is working with current CSU Stanislaus students to develop interactive and rich media components for the game.

Recent wins
Modesto is celebrating the inaugural 10-week soccer season at the new Mary Grogan Community Park, a roughly $10 million state-of-the-art soccer complex with seven lighted soccer fields, a parking lot with 532 spaces, and a concession stand. The soccer complex allows Modesto Youth Soccer Association members to play at a first-class venue, which raises the prestige of the MYSA recreational league and AJAX United, its competitive program. Before Mary Grogan opened a few months ago, MYSA had to juggle play for its 3,000 members at more than a dozen venues because Modesto did not have a soccer complex. Now, teams come from across the region to play in Modesto. AJAX United held a tournament the last weekend of September that brought 125 teams and more than 1,000 players from throughout Northern California and northern Nevada.

Modesto Junior College held an International Heritage Festival. The free, one-day festival presented by the nonprofit International Festival Committee provided hours of entertainment on two stages. Children visiting the event were encouraged to visit nations’ booths to collect stamps and stickers while learning about geography, history, music, and art.

The fourth annual Wild Planet Day was held at the future home of the Great Valley Museum. Wild Planet Day was the first time Modesto’s new planetarium was open to the public, and with so few planetariums in Northern and Central California, it is a historic moment. Using a combination of the “Zeiss ZKP 4” mechanical star projector and two Zeiss Velvet digital projectors, the planetarium is one of the most advanced in the world. It is also the first installation of Velvet projectors in the United States, and the only planetarium in the world to use both of these amazing projectors.

Public outreach is critical to the success of a creative placemaking effort. The Building Imagination Center focuses its public outreach efforts in its social media posts and through a diversity of venues. How does your organization focus its public outreach efforts?