Merced County Times Newspaper
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New sponsorship programs champion Merced Theatre, entertainment for local families


Wendy Spencer, a development specialist for the Merced Theatre in downtown Merced, is out and about in the local community, going to clubs and organizations looking for support for the historic venue and its ongoing programs.

Spencer says there are currently two sponsorship programs in the effort. Businesses or individuals can sponsor The Merced Theatre Foundation’s Season of Shows, which runs from September through June, coinciding with the local school year. These Season Sponsors allow the Theatre to bring in more shows and better artists each year. UC Merced recently committed to sponsor the 2023 – 2024 Season as the Diamond Sponsor.

Season Sponsors get to enjoy tickets to each show, and to show gratitude for the sponsor’s support, The Merced Theatre will put their name and logo up on the digital marquee right on Main Street for all of our city to see.

There is also an exciting new sponsorship program called “ArtKam,” which stands for Art for Kids At Merced Theatre,” and is also a clever shout-out to Art Kamangar, whose generous donation helped materialize the enormous efforts and donations of many people in our community, ensuring a more timely restoration of The Merced Theatre several years ago.

The ArtKam sponsorship program helps the Merced Theatre Foundation fulfill their mission to “make performing and visual arts readily available for the enrichment of our culturally diverse population” by encouraging businesses and individuals to sponsor tickets for children and their parents to come to the amazing shows at The Merced Theatre, and even receive a treat at the concession stand.

In April, the Merced Sunrise Rotary Club committed to sponsor ArtKam, and because of this donation, 46 children and their parents were able to enjoy a wonderful night out together on Thursday, April 29, attending the hilarious and educational Captain Nemo’s Adventure Academy.

Spencer and Aggie Freeman, youth services director for the Sunrise Rotary Club, were there to greet families as they entered the Theatre.

“It was so rewarding to talk to the families as they came into this gorgeous Merced Theatre, have them share with me that they had never been inside, and be able to show them some of the wonderful features of the building,” Spencer said. “ The children were so excited to see the clouds projected onto the ceiling, and of course they loved the show. There were so many laughs, so many smiles, and they even learned some fun things about our ocean, and how they can take care of it.”

She added, “The Art Kamangar Center at The Merced Theatre is the heartbeat of Merced, and it is critical that we as a community do all we can to support it and raise youth who will continue to care for it for generations to come, by creating amazing experiences there for our youth.”

If you would like to become a Season Sponsor, or sponsor the ArtKam program, or if your youth organization is interested in receiving sponsored ArtKam tickets to shows at The Merced Theatre, please reach out to Wendy Spencer at [email protected].

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