In the spring of 1997, Marie Damrell Gallo was asked by then Modesto Mayor Dick Lang to assemble a research team to investigate the feasibility of building a downtown performing arts center. A team of about 20 people was assembled from the private and public sectors, including various community and business leaders. The next seven years would see exhaustive research and fundraising phases that would ultimately shape what the Gallo Center would become. Following architectural planning that had begun in 2001, construction began in 2004. Here’s a video tribute to the incredible woman who led the way:
The state-of-the-art Gallo Center for the Arts was built at a cost of $47 million and opened in the fall 2007 with a week of star-studded performances representing numerous genres of arts and entertainment.
From the outset it was intended that the programming of the Gallo Center for the Arts would reflect the interests, diversity and history of the people that call the San Joaquin their home, and that the facility itself would be a landmark in the region for decades to come. Today it is all of that and more—an outstanding community asset that has set a new standard for the arts in Central California.
Regional arts organizations, artists and performers produce shows of a style, scope, and quality never deemed possible in the past. Top-flight entertainment from around the world appear before audiences from all parts of Stanislaus County and neighboring communities. Educational opportunities for students at all levels in our community are both extraordinary and abundant.
The Gallo Center for the Arts unquestionably will be the focus of arts, entertainment, multicultural programming, arts education and social activities in the San Joaquin Valley for generations to come.
About the Building
Owner: Stanislaus County
Operated by: Gallo Center for the Arts, Inc.
Project Cost: $47 million
Executive Architect: Nestor + Gaffney Architecture, LLP
Design Architect: Carrier Johnson
Design and Theater Architect: John Sergio Fisher & Associates, Inc.
Acoustical Designer: Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc.
General Contractor: Clark and Sullivan
The Role of Stanislaus County
The Gallo Center for the Arts was made possible by a public/private partnership with the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors and the generous community donors to the Gallo Center for the Arts. The combination of public and private money is so frequently used to fund cultural centers because of the number of civic benefits brought to communities, including:
- The well-documented economic development impact of such projects on downtown centers
- Increased tax revenues by attracting new businesses and homeowners
- Enriched educational opportunities for young people
- Opportunities for local artists to expand audiences and to develop organizationally and artistically.
These outcomes are of incalculable value to a community, and for this reason, enlightened local governments, like Stanislaus County, are eager to reap the proven benefits of such projects for their residents.
“So many have worked so hard and given so much to bring the Gallo Center for the Arts to our community,” stated Patty Hill Thomas, then Chief Operating Officer for Stanislaus County and project manager for construction of the center.
How the Permanent Endowment Fund Was Created
To ensure the continued success of the Gallo Center for the Arts following its opening in 2007, $15 million was 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, provided supplemental funding for educational programs and presentations that could not otherwise be offered, provided affordable access to the arts for residents of Stanislaus County and beyond, and provided 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 made the Gallo Center a reality!
Historical Timeline of the Gallo Center for the Arts