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To ensure the continued success of the Gallo Center for the Arts, $15 million has been set aside in a permanent endowment fund. The investment of $10 million from the Gallo family, and $5 million from the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation will provide supplemental funding for educational programs and presentations that could not otherwise be offered, provide affordable access to the residents of the County, and provide funds for the perpetuation and improvement of the physical facilities of the Gallo Center for the Arts.

We appreciate the generosity of these families who are making this project a reality!

History of the Gallo Center for the Arts

Spring 1997
  • Mayor Dick Lang appoints Marie Gallo to assemble a research team to investigate the feasibility of building a performing arts center.
  • A research team of about 20 people is assembled.
    • From the private sector, there are various community and business leaders.
    • From the public sector, there are representatives from the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, Modesto City Council, California State University, Stanislaus, Modesto Junior College, Modesto City Schools, and the County Office of Education.
    • The research team visits the Valley Center for the Performing Arts in Oakland and the Dean Lescher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

October 1997 - The research team hires AMS Planning and Research to conduct a public survey, market analysis, and to obtain information from local arts organizations who would be potential tenants.

February 1998 - The AMS study is completed and finds:
  • Scheduling conflicts in existing facilities.
  • Existing facilities are inadequate and/or not equipped for touring productions, big name performers, and even the requirements of local groups, such as the Modesto Symphony and Modesto Performing Arts.
  • The educational institutions which owned the facilities wants to reclaim them for their intended purpose: the use by their students.
  • Expansion or renovation of existing high school or college auditoriums is cost-prohibitive and not productive

March 1998 - Stanislaus County and the City of Modesto approves giving $50,000 each toward conducting a feasibility study for a performing arts center.

April 1998
- Mayor Dick Lang, Marie Gallo, Delmar Tonge, Ellen Burns, Modesto Bee writer Walt Williams, and Modesto Bee photographer Bart Ah You travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to tour the Walton Arts Center.

May 1998 - The Modesto Bee conducts a survey which shows widespread support for an arts center.

Summer 1998 - Research team members tour the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, and the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach.

December 1998

  • The research team decides that a feasibility study is the next appropriate step and hires a team of consultants to do a feasibility study concerning the development and operation of a performing arts center in Stanislaus County.
  • The consultant team consists of:
    • Knudson-Benson Associates of Seattle, Washington, an architectural and engineering firm specializing in the design of the physical components of performing arts centers, including the functional, technical, and space requirements;
    • RDC Project Development of Langley, Washington, a consulting firm specializing in fund-raising for the performing arts.
    • Mitze Productions of Malibu, California, a consulting firm specializing in the management and programming of performing arts centers.

Spring 1999 - The Knutson-Benson Consulting team does the following:

  • Inspects all other facilities available for the performing arts in and around Stanislaus County.
  • Interviews the leaders of non-profit performing arts groups and other interested parties to determine whether there is a need for a performing arts center in Stanislaus County and, if so, the appropriate size and scope of such a facility.
  • Develops a detailed capital cost estimate for construction of a performing arts center (land and construction cost of $30 million) and made recommendations concerning the organizational structure, a five-year operating plan, and fund-raising strategy for the Central Valley Center for the Arts (the CVCA).

June 1999

  • The Feasibility Study is completed and concludes, among other things, that the art center is imminently feasible.
  • The CVCA concludes that the organizational and financing structure to construct the performing arts center needs to be a partnership:
    • A 3-way partnership consisting of Stanislaus County, the City of Modesto, and the CVCA.
    • The County and City will contribute $15 million each to build the facility.
    • The CVCA will raise a minimum of $15 million for a permanent endowment fund to defray the costs of operating the facility to keep ticket prices affordable and to allow local arts groups to rent the facility at a reasonable rental rate.
    • The CVCA will lease the facility back from the City and County for a long-term lease with $1 a year rent.

July 7, 1999 - The pledge from the Gallo Family of $10 million toward the endowment is announced, along with plans for a performing arts center, costing $30 million, consisting of a 1,200-seat theater, a 400-seat theater, and an art gallery. An endowment goal of $15 million is also announced. The site is designated as the block bounded by H, I, 10th, and 11th Streets.

July 21, 1999 - The CVCA is incorporated as the Central Valley Center for the Arts, Inc., a non-profit public benefit corporation.

August 30, 1999 - The IRS determines that the CVCA is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

October 13, 1999
- The Franchise Tax Board determines that the CVCA is exempt from state franchise or income taxes under Revenue and Taxation Code section 23701(d).

October 19, 1999
- The Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation announces its pledge of $5 million toward the endowment of the arts center.

October 1999
- The CVCA tours the Christopher Cohen Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo.

November/December 1999
- Four new council members are elected to the Modesto City Council, and the CVCA loses majority support on the Council for the arts center.

May 2, 2000
- The City Council refuses to make any financial commitment and votes to form a Joint Powers Authority with Stanislaus County only to explore the project feasibility.

May 9, 2000
- The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors agrees to form a Joint Powers Authority.

July 2000
- The City of Modesto announces that Modesto cannot afford to pay its share of the cost of a performing arts center.

August 1, 2000
- The Modesto City Council votes to place Measure F on the ballot to increase the City's hotel tax from 9% to 11% in order to finance a $7.5 million contribution toward the arts center. Several council members actively work to defeat Measure F.

August 15, 2000
- The Board of Supervisors approves funding of $15 million, which includes use of the site bordered by H, I, 10th, and 11th Streets.

November 7, 2000
- Measure F fails.

  • Measure F would have increased Modesto's hotel tax from 9% to 11% with the increase proceeds going to help build the arts center.
  • Measure F obtains 46.9% out of a required 66.7% of votes.

December 2000 - The CVCA hires the executive search firm of Morris & Berger to assist in the hiring of an executive director.

January 2001 - The CVCA announces a plan to raise the money alone without the City of Modesto.

March 27, 2001 - The Board of Supervisors approve:
  • Going forward with a partnership with the CVCA alone without the City of Modesto;
  • Competition to select the design architect; and
  • Preliminary 3-year schedule.

April 2001 - The CVCA and the County start a search for design and theater architects.

April 10, 2001
- The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors votes to name the arts center the Gallo Performing Arts Center in honor of the Gallo family's $10 million contribution to the endowment.

May 10, 2001
- A fund-raiser is held at the home of Bob and Marie Gallo.

  • A pledge of $3 million toward construction is made by Foster Farms.
  • $2.9 million in additional pledges are made that night.

July 4, 2001 - The CVCA's July 4th parade entry "Arts for All" wins the Chairman's Trophy.

July 18, 2001 - The Board of Supervisors approve:

  • Design concept & selection of design architect.
  • Project budget and schedule.
  • Proceeding with schematic and design development.

August 2001 - The CVCA hires its first employee, Claudine Gray.

September 2001
- The CVCA and the County approve selection of Carrier Johnson as design architects, John Sergio Fisher & Associates as theater architects, and Nestor & Gaffney Architecture, LLP as the Executive Architect.

November 2001
- The CVCA hires Gary Schaub as Interim Administrator.

December 26, 2001
- The architect submits a schematic design.

January 7, 2002
- The CVCA rejects the design of the front facade and requests added design work for the facade and plaza.

March 12, 2002
- The CVCA accepts the new design and agrees to pay for the increased cost of $1.44 million for the re-designed front facade and garden courtyard.

May 14, 2002
- At the CVCA's request, the Board of Supervisors votes to change the name of the center to the Gallo Arts Center.

July 16, 2002
- The CVCA Board of Directors tours the Orange County Performing Arts Center and reviews construction and interior materials.

July 18, 2002
- The CVCA Board of Directors take Mayor Sabatino, Councilman Frohman, Councilman Jackman, City Manager Jack Crist, Deputy City Manager George Britton, and Director of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Jim Niskanen to tour the Dean Lescher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

September 11, 2002
- The CVCA tours the Mondavi Center at U.C. Davis.

March 25, 2003
- A demolition ceremony is held at the construction site.

March 25th 2003
- The City of Modesto approves funding of $602,000 for curb, gutter and streetscape improvements for the Gallo Center for the Arts.

May 7, 2003
- The CVCA opens contractor's bids, and the lowest bid is $4 million over the construction budget. The CVCA and the County reject the bids.

May 10, 2003
- Articles of Organization are filed for Gallo Arts Center, LLC.

July 17, 2003
- The CVCA unveils the re-designed facade and its plan to defer the art gallery and the garden courtyard to Phase II.

July-December 2003
- Architect and engineers redesign the building to bring the it within budget.

February 4, 2004
- The CVCA opens contractor's bids. The lowest bid is from Clark & Sullivan.

February 12, 2004
- Kathleen Nicely starts as the Development Director of the Gallo Arts Center.

February 17, 2004
- At the request of the CVCA, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors votes to change the name of the arts center to the Gallo Center for the Arts.

March 2, 2004
- The Board of Supervisors votes to award the construction contract to the lowest bidder, the construction firm of Clark & Sullivan.

March 23, 2004
- Induction of the Board of Trustees at the home of Bob and Marie Gallo.

April 27, 2004
- Groundbreaking and $1 million challenge grant is issued if $2 million can be raised from the community by October 31, 2004.

May 26, 2004
- A benefit dinner for the challenge grant is held at the home of Jim and Sue Coleman.

September 12, 2004
- A benefit for the challenge grant and the Westside of Stanislaus County is held at Diablo Grande Golf Club with Rita Moreno.

October 31, 2004
- The challenge grant ends and is successful with over $2 million secured and additional $1 million received from an anonymous challenge grant donor.

May 13, 2005
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith benefit premiere.

December 13, 2005
- "Topping Out" celebration is held at the construction site.

January, 2007
- Dave Pier starts as the Executive Director of the Gallo Center for the Arts.

September 2007
- Gala Opening Gallo Center for the Arts!