Culver Art Center in Downtown Riverside Seeks Community Support

By Catherine Szilagyi, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Riverside’s plans for a new downtown art gallery and interactive media showcase, The Culver Center of the Arts, are gathering momentum. UC Riverside is leading the effort to drastically refurbish the historical Rouse Building in downtown Riverside in order to bring The Culver Center of the Arts to life, and to the Inland Empire community. The project will be overseen by UC Riverside’s Chair of the Art History Department, Patricia Morton, and developers are currently in the process of selecting an architect for the endeavor.

The inspiration for The Culver Center’s creation is not only to encourage tourism in downtown Riverside by providing arts and cultural events, but also to increase the presence of the University within the community. Its presence will benefit the Inland Empire, UCR, and, of course, the Arts. The center is expected to be an interactive center as well as an educational facility providing classes, state-of-the-art programs, and offering activities that will serve both the campus and the community.

The Culver Arts Center would provide wide-ranging benefits for Riverside and the University. Aside from bringing additional arts and culture to the heart of Riverside, it will offer a place for national and international artists and faculty to teach and reside. There also will be a visible venue for student art display, and the Center will provide the University with an additional arts outreach center. Gluck Fellows, a University outreach program to be supported by The Culver Center, will function to engage more community members in the arts by sending students out into the community to teach and perform the arts.

The emphasis of The Center will be placed on new forms of art, including digital art and other innovative uses of technology. To do this, The Culver Center will be in collaboration with the UCR/California Photography Museum for digital art outreach, and The Center is also expected to collaborate in research with the Museum. Furthermore, The Center will provide preservation, storage, and support for the world-famous UCR/California Photography Museum’s Keystone-Mast Stereographic Collection.

With all these plans in mind, however, the biggest obstacles developers now face are financial. To make the Culver Center a reality, a substantial amount of funding is needed. An estimated three million dollars is still needed, and builders are looking to the City of Riverside and its community for aid.

Without the community’s support for this venture, it will take some time for developers to begin renovation on Rouse Building in downtown Riverside. Until enough funds are received, The Culver Center of the Arts has no projected construction date, and the undertaking will have to be delayed. In the interim, UCR developers hope to spread word about the benefits of the Culver Arts Center, and seek funds for its establishment.

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