arts and culturefeatured-art-and-cultureIssue 29

The Gallo Center for the People

By Noel Daniel

Not only is the Center a cultural and entertainment hub for the entire San Joaquin Valley, but it’s also a powerful economic engine for downtown Modesto.

More than 200,000 people a year visit the Gallo Center and research tells us that more than 60 percent of those also eat a meal or enjoy a glass or wine or spend money in other ways while in Modesto for a show. With over 150 shows per year plus many other activities at the Center, there’s something going on almost every day. It has also given local arts organizations, school groups and others a home for their performances and programs.

The Gallo Center has become the gathering spot for many activities that take place in our community—from AMGEN to Haven’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to the Peace officer’s Memorial Run and LOVE Modesto. It’s a beautiful building that is shared with hundreds of thousands of people each year, giving all those people a sense of place and pride in their town. And we wanted to recognize the people who are making it happen.

Lynn Dickerson, Chief Executive Officer

Lynn Dickerson started work with the Gallo Center for the Arts nearly eight years ago—but in fact, she was there from the very beginning. Dickerson served on the Board of Directors in the early 2000s when she was the publisher of the Modesto Bee and while money was being raised to build the venue. The Gallo Center for the Arts has been the catalyst for great change in downtown Modesto, and Dickerson has been there to help the Center achieve financial stability. She has also grown and diversified audiences—mentioning that a growth in Latino patrons has been especially gratifying. People now travel from all over Northern California—and often farther than that—to see shows at the Center. They sleep in our hotels, frequent our restaurants, and experience the real Modesto—not the negative Modesto they perhaps have read about or heard about. And Dickerson could not be more proud that she, a woman with humble beginnings, was able to help bring such significant, beneficial change about.

 

 

Al Poulus, Director of Technology & Theater Operations

Al Poulus began work with the Gallo Center for the Arts in 2006, beginning his role in technology but gradually expanding the role to include Theater Operations such as Front of House, Concessions, and Ticket Office Operations. His proudest moment with the Center was being a part of the senior staff team that stabilized the Center financially. Poulus is entirely aware of the enormous impact the Center has on the community and its importance in Modesto. And to Poulus, there are two central reasons why: the fact that they provide excellent cultural experiences to the community by presenting world-class acts and the economic impact the Center has on the region. It’s a feat that anyone would be proud of.

Doug Hosner, Director of Marketing

Doug Hosner is another staple of the Gallo Center for the Arts and has been since 2009. As the Director of Marketing, his job—in the simplest terms—is to put butts in seats. And judging from the Gallo’s profound audience growth, we’d say he’s done some stellar work. Formerly director of marketing at the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert, California, Hosner’s greatest pride is having been a part of the small, dedicated team that has helped the Gallo Center become recognized one of the most well-operated performing arts venues in the United States. Hosner, himself, has a love for the performing arts, and is proud that his arts knowledge could benefit the communities in which he’s lived. In fact, he can’t imagine a Modesto without the Center. It is a force for good, he says, providing cultural enrichment, arts education for our children, and overall downtown improvement.

Landon Skinner, Director of Finance

A recent addition to the Gallo Center team in 2016, and excited to add his talents to the team, Landon Skinner has embraced his role of establishing, maintaining, and reporting on the financial operations of the Center. His proudest achievement is helping the Center reduce its debt obligation by 48 percent—that’s $5,400,000. To Landon, the arts inspire members of the community to attain higher levels of creative learning and create a cohesive unity among participants across so many boundaries—that’s why the Gallo Center is so important. It’s a central cog in providing arts to the members of the community, catalyzing the learning and sharing in Modesto. And Landon Skinner is one of the leading experts helping the organization to find its legs.

Carla Whitehurst, Director of Development – Corporate Giving and Major Gifts

Carla Whitehurst started with the Gallo Center for the Arts in 2013 and has a huge responsibility. The Development Department is responsible for raising approximately $1.5 million each year to help keep the Center up and running, which is in addition to ticket sales. These numbers are achieved through the Center’s 2,700 generous donors, corporate supporters, and grants. Whitehurst is most proud of acquiring and cultivating a high number of donors and sponsors year after year to keep the Gallo Center moving forward as the cultural superpower that it’s steadily become. The Center isn’t just a job/career for Whitehurst—it’s a part of her life and who she is. “The Gallo Center is our community’s very own jewel to be proud of,” she says, and Whitehurst is one of its many facets.

Amber Flores, Director of Development – Foundation & Annual Giving

Amber Flores was the Gallo Center for the Arts’ first intern in 2008, and officially started working for the Center two years later as its Development Manager. Flores and Whitehurst work together to manage the fundraising activities at the Center, and similarly, her proudest act is raising funds to support the arts education program. It’s a matter that’s very personal for Flores, who was born and raised in Turlock and always had a love for the arts. She wasn’t able to see a play until her teen years, however—and this is not something she wants other children in the county to suffer. She made it a personal mission to find her way back to Stanislaus County to increase accessibility to the arts in her community, and as fate would have it, the Gallo Center was being built at the exact same time. It was a serendipitous and proud moment for Flores, who has been working there ever since.

Erik Vose, Director of Production & Technical Operations

Erik Vose started work with the Gallo Center for the Arts ten years ago as the Assistant Director of Production, and became the director six years ago.  He has coordinated everything that happens backstage and onstage since the opening of the center in 2007.   He’s most proud of the Valley Talent Project (TVTP), finding great joy in being able to showcase local talent in a show that flows effortlessly from one act to the next. He’s happy to share the credit for TVTP with the production coordinator of TVTP, Sarah Ortega-Hosner. Vose has had an extraordinarily successful career, taking a show all the way to Moscow in his first year of graduate school, and is profoundly aware of the positive influence that art has on those who consume it. “Everyone that attends a performance leaves touched in some way,” Vose stated—and after speaking to the pillars of the Center’s leadership, it’s not just the patrons he’s talking about.


For more information about The Gallo Center For The Arts or its numerous events, visit www.galloarts.org.

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