Well into her fourth season at the helm of our Gallo Center for the Arts, Lynn Dickerson is again showing a great talent for successful operational management coupled with a keen eye for scheduling artists and shows that are appealing to local audiences.
With five solid years in the books, our arts pavilion continues to resound with great music and with rave reviews from performers and listeners alike.
In 2009, after a couple of dismal years that showed million dollar deficits, Lynn took over and immediately there was a pronounced turn in the center's financial condition. This year, as in the past couple of years, a positive cash result is forecast.
Yes, a proper accounting statement will continue to show deficits, given accepted accounting principles of depreciation and amortization. But the all important cash flow is positive, and that, in anyone's book, is a very good thing.
And, most important of all, this center is an absolute jewel something that should make us all proud to have in our community. It is the rare arts venue that turns a profit. Most community concert halls cost their respective communities substantial annual subsidies. This is true in the major cities like San Francisco and New York, as well as in smaller communities.
I like to characterize a cultural deficit as a cost to the community, not as a loss on a financial statement. The real issue becomes how to control the size of the cost, not to stress over whether or not it turns a profit, because the reality is that none make money.
This season Lynn also took over complete control of booking artists a process that previously had been contracted to outsiders. Ticket sales and enthusiastic audiences bear out the positive results of that move as well.
Steve Martin (playing the banjo, of all things), Boz Scaggs, Kenny Rogers and the very popular group Crosby, Stills and Nash, are just a few of the headliners booked this year.
Just last month the Blood, Sweat and Tears concert provided not only a cavalcade of classics, but some of the best sound quality that local audio folks have heard in any venue.
Still to come are a couple of my favorites not as well known as some, but artists that will really excite the audiences. On Oct. 6, Eric Genuis brings his program of modern and melodic classical music. Most of his works are his own compositions, and those that have heard Eric in previous Modesto performances are eagerly awaiting his return. In addition, he has a most inspiring family story that he likely will share, all about his adopted child and also his daughter, who has Down syndrome.
In December the little known but incredibly skilled group of young men Straight, No Chaser brings their fresh-off-the-campus a cappella singing style to our stage. These guys are terrific, they have an extremely solid cult following and already this show is nearing sell-out status. (The fact that one of the eight guys is the son of a close friend should not be construed as a shameless plug.)
Three Broadway shows are booked this year, and a solid Christmas season is also on the schedule.
All in all, our concert hall has emerged as a resounding artistic success, at a very minimal "cost" to our community.
Hagerty is an Oakdale real estate developer active in community nonprofits. Send comments or questions to email@example.com.