History

California Centered:

In 2007 the Merced County Arts Council was going through a transitional period as old staff left and new staff came on. It was during this period that a new curatorial process was put in place and Merced College art professor and artistĀ JamieĀ Brzezinski was brought in to develop and manage it. One of the thingsĀ Brzezinski wanted to do was to start experimenting with juried group shows, shows that were focused on California artists. Using Merced’s geography, in the center of the state, as a strength, California Centered was born.

Now in its 7th year and with the number of entries growing each year, California Centered: printmaking is establishing a name for itself among printmakers in California.

The Merced County Arts Council hopes to add to the California Centered program through offering additional juried group shows in other mediums in the future.

The Merced Multicultural Arts Center

In 1978, the Goldman Fund was left to the City of Merced in memory of Morris and Amelia Goldman. Held in trust for creation of a multi-functional arts and cultural community center, the Goldman Fund came into play as an element of the City’s 1991 Downtown Strategy to revitalize the historic core of the community.

In 1994, the City of Merced’s Redevelopment Agency and the Merced County Arts Council joined in partnership to renovate the once grand 28,000 square foot Montgomery Wards department store at 645 W. Main Street.

Since its completion in 1996 as a downtown redevelopment anchor, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center has been honored with an American Institute of Architecture award. The Merced County Arts Council’s re-energized programming, launched from their new home, received the League of California Cities’ 2001 “Helen Putnam Award for Excellence” Grand Prize for Arts and Quality of Life. This progressive relationship between the City of Merced and the Merced County Arts Council also led to Merced being chosen as one of only four California cities featured in the televised documentary “2001:Year of the Arts”, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the California Arts Council.

The Merced Multicultural Arts Center is a modern, open three story facility providing space and support for arts education, training, world-class performances, tours, and five galleries showcasing arts and cultural exhibits of local, regional and national importance. Included is the Arbor Gallery; a retail cooperative of over 30 regional artists.

The Merced County Arts Council

The Arts Council’s mission is to inspire and nurture the arts in Merced County. We strive to show the community that art is around us all the time, and can be experienced in anything and everything. One does not have to be able to recognize the work of Manet or Mozart to know, value or benefit from the arts. Likewise, the ability to draw a perfect aesthetic is not the only right of passage to call oneself an artist. Because anyone drawn to the arts is a player in the arts scene, the arts are constantly changing. As staff, we push and pull in deliberative process to discern how that philosophy translates into action.

Incorporated in 1978, the Merced County Arts Council was originally operated from a small office space on Main Street. In 1996, the City of Merced entrusted the Arts Council to manage the Merced Multicultural Arts Center. In addition to operating this 28,000 sq. foot, multipurpose arts center, the Arts Council manages an arts-in-education program; an arts facility for adults with developmental disabilities; performances and visual/performing arts classes for children and adults; professional support for artists through fiscal sponsorship; exhibits of about 20 professional artists each year; and newfound coalitions for visual and performing artists.

 

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