Turlock’s Carnegie center marks anniversary with block party


The Turlock Carnegie historic library, right, gained a modern addition, left, after a gutted fire the original 1916 structure.

The Modesto Bee

A big block party caps off a year of celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the rebuilt Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock.

Everyone is invited to the family-oriented event on Saturday, June 25, from 10 am to 3 pm at the center. There will be performances, art activities, a variety of artist and vendor booths and free entry to the annual youth art exhibition.

The admission-free block party will take place inside, outside and around the arts center at 250 N. Broadway in downtown Turlock. It marks the reopening of the center after a fire.

“We’re hoping we get 500 people or more,” Carnegie Director Lisa McDermott said. “We’ll have art activities and everything will be open (for) free, so people who have never been to the Carnegie will hopefully come and learn about us and share some activities.”

The arts center has been celebrating its reopening since September 2011, she said, with such events as an “evening of gratitude” for founding donors and volunteers, a naming ceremony for the center’s loft – now called the John and June McVey loft, an Elements of Renewal” exhibit that was a nod to the recovery after the fire, a fundraising auction, a Turlock home tour and banners produced by youths that have been hanging in downtown since last summer.

There’s also an endowment campaign, which is targeted at $50,000 and has hit about $40,000, McDermott said. The endowment provides the financial mainstay for the center.

Took years to rebuild

Following a fire in 2005 and several years of planning and construction, the redesigned and revitalized arts center opened on Sept. 10, 2011, according to a press release. “For the past 10 years, the CAC has welcomed and served the community as a space to learn about and enjoy art, music, dance, theater, poetry and film.”

The modern-looking arts center was built connected to the original building. The exterior still was intact on the original structure after the fire, said McDermott, who has been at the Carnegie for 20 years. But the interior was completely refurbished.

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The Carnegie Arts Center under reconstruction in 2011. The Modesto Bee

When Turlock’s original Carnegie building opened in 1916, it housed – like many named for Andrew Carnegie across the country – the community library. Now, it’s an arts center that’s featured works by masters including Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Joan Miró and Ansel Adams.

The library moved out in 1968 and the Carnegie building became an arts center in 1979. But the fire gutted the structure.

The anniversary is momentous, McDermott said. “When the nonprofit took over the operating center, the relationship with the city of Turlock was a little complicated … it took five years of planning to rebuild and reopen.

“Being able to maintain and succeed for 10 years feels like a real milestone.”

For more on the Carnegie Arts Center, see www.carnegieartsturlock.org.


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