,

$1 Million commitment from Marcia and Gary Nelson for current renovation phase

Center to recognize this commitment by
naming new 18,000 square foot outdoor courtyard
The Marcia & Gary Nelson Family Grand Plaza 

SANTA ROSA, CA (October 2018) – The Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation, the non-profit organization that owns and operates Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (LBC), today announced a $1 million commitment from Marcia and Gary Nelson—Sonoma County philanthropists and LBC Honorary Board members—towards the multi-phase Bridge to the Future renovation project of the Center. LBC will recognize this generous donation from the Nelson family by naming the 18,000 square foot outdoor courtyard, accessed through the center doors from the Lytton Rancheria Grand Lobby, the Marcia and Gary Nelson Family Grand Plaza. This grand plaza is a significant feature of the renovation project currently underway to increase accessibility, enhance patron experience, and improve safety and security to the facility.

Marcia Nelson shared this observation as their gift was announced: “The support of music and arts education in our schools by LBC is a key reason we are investing our dollars in this fine institution.”

Gary Nelson continued: “As long time supporters of Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, we are thrilled to make this gift and move this project closer to completion. Our deep and passionate belief in the importance of the arts and arts education aligns perfectly with the role LBC plays in our community. We are happy to help the Center take its place as the premier performing arts center in Sonoma County and hope our donation will inspire others to join us to help LBC finish the visionary Bridge to the Future project.”

Board Chair Paul Wilcock said: “The Board of Directors, staff and volunteers—all of us who dedicate ourselves to LBC—recognize and appreciate the Nelson family’s ongoing generosity and understand their desire to make a commitment to a place that means so much, to so many in our community. We are deeply grateful to Gary and Marcia for their very generous leadership and support. With a total of $10.5 million now secured, only $1 million remains to be raised on this $11.5 million upgrade and renovation project. We look forward to inviting the community to enjoy the Marcia and Gary Nelson Family Grand Plaza.”

The Bridge to the Future is an $11.5 million multi-year, multi-phase project to upgrade the 44-year-old facility. To date there have been major upgrades to the lobby and first-floor restrooms; significant improvements to front-of-house, back-of-house, stage and technical capability in the 1600-seat Ruth Finley Person Theatre; and expansion of the visual arts on campus with the development of a 1.5-acre outdoor Sculpture Garden.

The current phase of Bridge to the Future, which began in June of 2017, focuses on increased and improved accessibility, safety, security and an enhanced patron experience. This includes installation of the first-ever elevators in the building; expansion of and ADA upgrades to existing balcony restrooms, along with the addition of new restrooms on both sides of the upstairs level; development of a first-ever balcony concession area and new built-in concession service on the ground floor; renovation and upgrades to the multi-use Fireside Room; new roof, site-screens, and paint for the entire building; new multi-paned windows and doors in the Lytton Rancheria Grand Lobby; and the creation of a new 18,000 square foot, fenced-in courtyard. The work for this phase is ongoing with many of the improvements already in place and others to be completed by the beginning of the new year. It is anticipated that the Marcia and Gary Nelson Family Grand Plaza will open in early 2019.

With their commitment of $1 million, Marcia and Gary Nelson join other generous donors who have made leadership gifts to the Bridge to the Future project:  the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation,  Lytton Rancheria—Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, The Swayne Family, Alan and Susan Seidenfeld, Wilhelm and Edith Wurst, GK Hardt Trust, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Trione, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Susan and Alan Preston, Betty Freeman, Sutter Health, and an anonymous donor.