By June 3, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

ArchitectureView- Building a Better Modesto

Building a Better Modesto By Bob Barzan

The Modesto Art Museum is excited to announce that ArtPlace America has given the museum a grant of $101,600 for Building a Better Modesto. The cutting edge program was chosen from over 1,200 applications nation-wide as an exceptional example of creative placemaking – using local assets to build public spaces that are attractive and that promote community well-being.

Building a Better Modesto is the museum’s response to the city’s ranking as one of the least livable in the country. After studying the reasons for our poor showing, we decided that the Modesto Art Museum could not continue with business as usual. We reflected on what role an art museum should have in Modesto and how we as a nonprofit community organization could make a difference in the quality of life here particularly through the arts.

Our program uses public art, architecture, landscape, and urban design to acknowledge the city’s unique assets, change the experience and perceptions of downtown Modesto, and generate action toward a more livable city. What can you expect to see over the next several months that will make a difference for you and our city?

In the coming months you will see the world premiere of a movie about Modesto’s architectural heritage; the organization of Modesto Heritage, the new historic preservation group; an expansion of the Modesto International Architecture Festival; new public art on the streets of the Modesto Design District; and a whole schedule of fun events, talks, tours, movies, and workshops.

As a catalyst for creativity in the community, Modesto Art Museum has no permanent location and so no infrastructure to support. This allows us to use the whole city as our “collection” and to dedicate all of the grant funds to the program.

Our board president, Barrett Lipomi sums it up well when he says, “This is an amazing opportunity for the museum to have a lasting impact in our community! The support from ArtPlace will allow us to expand our programming and take a huge step towards building a better Modesto.”

I look forward to sharing more about our exciting work for Modesto in future editions of Modesto View.

Bob Barzan, Executive Director, Modesto Art Museum

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