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Original exhibits, youth programs give Carnegie a successful year
bunnicula pic 1
LightBox Theatre debuted their first production at the Carnegie Arts Center in 2015 with an adaption of Bunnicula. The performances included field trips for about 300 students from Wakefield Elementary. - photo by Photo by Marty Bicek/Bicek Photography

The Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock has closed the books on a year that saw more than 16,000 visitors come through the doors of the facility to view an exhibit, see a performance, listen to a lecture, take a class or just have a night of family fun.

“I think this past year we exceeded pretty much everyone’s expectations,” said Carnegie Arts Center Director Lisa McDermott when she presented the annual report to the Turlock City Council on Tuesday.

One highlight of the Carnegie’s year was the debut of the Alphonse Mucha exhibit. The Carnegie’s showcase of “Alphonse Mucha: The Golden Age of Art Nouveau” was the first public presentation of his work outside of Prague, and the Carnegie created labels, wall panels, and a timeline that will accompany the exhibition on its national tour. The exhibit included a host of activities including lectures, music performances and field trip lessons that gave visitors a better appreciation of Mucha’s work and his influence on art and advertising.

“Once again the Carnegie was able to shine a spotlight on an artist worthy of recognition,” McDermott said.

Over the year the Ferrari Gallery was home to exhibits on the works of Joan Miró, Chella, Dan Kasser and other Central Valley artists.

“The Ferrari Gallery shows were exceptionally successful last year,” McDermott said.

The Carnegie also debuted the “Ready, Set Show” exhibit that featured art created by local children.

“We had 95 students participate and expect an even bigger response this summer,” McDermott said.

In addition to the exhibits, the Carnegie Arts Center was used as the home for the Poetry on Sunday series, Turlock Uke Jamz, the Village Dancers of the Valley, the Turlock Drum Circle and the Sunshine Strummers.

“All of these groups brought a diverse audience to the Carnegie,” McDermott said.

The Carnegie’s newest collaboration is with the Light Box Theatre, which performed their first show, “Bunnicula” at the Carnegie. The performances included field trips for about 300 students from Wakefield Elementary.

“For most of them this was their first experience with live theater and we couldn’t have been more pleased with their response,” McDermott said.

The Carnegie increased enrollment in their art classes, even though they currently have a shortage of teachers. They also saw an increase in facility rentals and youth programs.

“We continue to exceed our goal of having 25 percent of our programs be for young people,” McDermott said.

In 2015, the Carnegie had 474 members contributing at various levels. Of those, 62 percent had been members since the Carnegie’s reopening in 2011.

The Endowment Fund, established in 2011 to assist with the continued operations of the Carnegie, ended the fiscal year at more than $2 million. The interest made off the endowment was down because of stock market declines. The total revenue for the fiscal year, including restricted and unrestricted, was $311,480 and the total expenditures was $355,372. The Carnegie had a disbursement from the Endowment Fund of $15,282.

This year marks the centennial anniversary of the original Carnegie Building built in Turlock, some of which remains in the current facility. The Carnegie has planned a year-long celebration with various activities, including an open house celebration on Feb. 27. They also are embarking on a 100 new member challenge, which Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth kicked off by handing over a check for $100 to cover his membership fee for the year. Soiseth applauded the Carnegie for “hitting the bulls eye” on their community involvement, especially with the youth and challenged other community members to follow his lead and become a member of the Carnegie.