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 16, 2013

Build-out in progress of the Building Imagination Center

This month, the Building Imagination Center has been in full swing preparing for the Modesto International Architecture Festival. The annual festival is hosting panels, guided tours, biking tours, art receptions, film screenings, and a keynote address, all highlighting the role that architecture plays in our local community. All of the events, except one, are completely free for the community. Festival organizers expect the attendance to top 1000 this year. While last year the Center hosted several of these events, this year (since our new Turlock Center is under construction) we will be creating two short documentary films on the festival with CSU Stanislaus film students.

These student produced short films are the first step in our new Community Film Fellowship program, which is a collaboration between the CSU Stanislaus filmmaking program and Central Valley nonprofit organizations that could benefit from visual storytelling. Each semester, teams of young, emerging filmmakers from CSU Stanislaus will collaborate with two to three nonprofit recipients of these Fellowships to create short videos that advance their cause. This semester they are working with the Modesto Art Museum and the Sierra Valley AIA.

Our free monthly Filmmakers Social Club, which is intended to connect film enthusiasts and filmmakers together for projects, saw several of the filmmakers planning collaborations. Two of these filmmakers, Mark and Greg Runnels, are about to begin production on their feature film Alleycat.  Scheduled to begin production later this month, it will use both the Bay Area and the Central Valley as the filming locations.  The Runnels are hiring most of their crew locally, an important part of strengthening our community's creative class.

Recent wins
We are saw many free events this month. Family movie nights hosted by the City of Modesto Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department in Modesto’s Graceada Park ran throughout the month. The free films screened at the outdoor amphitheater in Modesto, and give people the chance to sit under the stars with family and friends while spending a relaxing Friday evening with a great film.

The Modesto Junior College Visual Arts Club opened an exhibit titled “Faculty Reunited.” The free exhibit focuses on the MJC Art Department’s faculty and their creative works. Modesto's Third Thursday Art Walks are another free community event.

Insight / Provocation
Free art events, such as those mentioned above, are incredibly important because community interaction is a vital component to their investment in that community.  Yet, the organizations that host them require funding. How have you balanced your organizations free events with your fundraising, or profit making events? Which funding model seems to provide the best long range stability for your organization?