We spoke with Executive Director Colton Dennis to get an inside look at what the highlights of 2018 were for the Merced Arts Center, and what he is hoping to bring to Merced in 2019
Was there anything you’re particularly proud of bringing to the MAC or having accomplished in 2018?
I’m proud of the inclusivity we have brought to the MAC. We are collaborating and partnering more and more with other organizations in town such as Playhouse Merced, Merced Shakespearefest, the LGBTQ+Alliance, and the newly formed Phoenix Creative Collective, to name a few. The MAC has really become a vibrant hub for local film-makers, actors, musicians, and visual artists, where they can develop their craft and create. In 2018, the MAC and the Merced County Arts Council began to recognize and celebrate individuals and groups within our county who have made an impact on the arts through our Excellence in Arts Awards. As executive director, I’m so proud of our staff who are professional, welcoming, and passionate about everything we do here at the center. Also, volunteers like our curators Benjamin Serpa and Louisa Benhissen who have made our exhibitions top notch! Not to mention all our other volunteers, board members, Enrichment Center staff and clients, and Arbor Gallery artists who contribute so much to what goes on at the MAC.
In a broad sense are there types of events or directions you’re hoping to head in 2019?
Of course, we will continue with our collaborations and do more with our partners in this New Year. Our goal for 2019 is to open our doors even more by empowering our community to use our space in such a way that reflects them - their hopes, dreams, experiences – their culture. Trying to connect with all the communities and cultures within Merced. We are also excited about the ongoing construction that is taking place on our block of Main Street with the El Capitan Hotel, the Tioga, and the Mainzer. But, even with all the construction going on for much of 2019, we’re looking forward to the new transformation! For far too long, the MAC has not had its neon lights on in the front and back marquees. But in 2019, the neon lights are coming back on. Stay tuned!
Passion an exhibition by the Contemporary Humanitarian Artists Association
January 8th - February 16th
Artists: Iris Asai, Frank Ayala, Cheryl Barnett, Gail Benedict, Abel Corchado, Janine Echabarne, Lisa Gilliland-Viney, Richard Gomez, Kate Jackson, Paul Longo, Charles Perez, Carolyn Reed, Ruben A. Sanchez, Sue Thompson, Oscar Torres and Kimberly Zamora