Merced County Times Newspaper
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Multicultural Arts Center swears in new leadership

Organizers and supporters of the Multicultural Arts Center (MAC) in downtown Merced came together on Thursday inside of the Black Box Theatre as part of their annual membership and board presentation night.

During the event members of the community were given the opportunity to hear more about the numerous programs run by the Arts Center, plans for the future, and observe the installation of this year’s officers. Concluding the event was the awarding of the Joan Sortini Arts Angel Award for volunteers.

Members of the 2019-20 Merced County Arts Council Board include: President Dan Baladad, Vice President Victoria Gomes, Secretary Kathy Hansen, Treasurer Alicia Bohlke, Corresponding Secretary Lourdes Clesson; and board members Cheryl Barnett, Amy Bultena, Sara Cribari-Hill, Janiine Echabarne, Midge Eck, Susan Lee, Paul Longo, Charles Nies Benjamin Serpa and Paul Ward.

The event began with a presentation about the Arts Center’s arts- and education-related programming by MAC Executive Director Colton Dennis. During his speech, Dennis noted that the Merced Arts Center currently invites hundreds of school-age children to make their way through their doors as part of field trips, or to take part in events like Kids Day at the MAC.

Through the ArTree program, Dennis said the MAC has established learning opportunities for students in schools throughout Merced County by placing local artists in classrooms.

The MAC is also able to bring the arts to adults with disabilities and help to improve their quality of life with programming offered by the MAC’s Enrichment Center.

Dennis pointed to the Merced Arts Center as a place of collaboration, saying that collaborations with organizations like the Merced Main Street Association, the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, the LGBTQ Alliance and the Bear Creek Ukulele Society, they are able to continuously bring new works to the public.

Recent performances include “Truly Unforgettable: The Natalie Cole Story” and Shawn Overton’s original play, “The Sound of Waves Crashing on an Island of Broken Glass” through a partnership with the Phoenix Creative Collective.

As the awards portion of the night got underway, Charles Perez was honored with the Arts Angel Award for his involvement with the annual Dia de los Muertos exhibit. As the show has continued to grow, the Dia de los Muertos show brings together a wide variety of both traditional artists and Mercedians from all walks of life, and features a wide array of colorful alters, masks, and artwork.

For more information on the Merced Arts Center, readers are encouraged to stop by the gallery at 645 West Main Street Monday through Friday, from 11AM until 6 PM and on Saturday from 10 AM until 2 PM. The Merced Arts Center can also be contacted by calling 209.388.1090 or by logging onto

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