LBC announces $1 Million commitment from Joan and Mack Schwing, completing the Bridge to the Future renovation project

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 Joan and Mack Schwing —long-time LBC supporters—for the multi-phase Bridge to the Future renovation project. Their gift completes the $11.5 million needed and is well-timed as the scope of upgrades and improvements nears completion. LBC will recognize this generous donation from the Schwings by renaming the Fireside Room, an intimate 1,525 square foot venue used for small gatherings, the Joan and Mack Schwing Salon.

Joan Schwing was on the LBC Board of Directors from 2002 until 2011 and Chair of the Board from 2008–2010. During her tenure, she established and served as chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, from whose vision the Bridge to the Future project was ultimately conceived and eventually launched. In 2011, both Joan and Mack joined the Honorary Board, upon which Joan served as Chair until 2017.

“We have lived in Santa Rosa for 30 years after moving to California from Tokyo, and have had the pleasure to watch LBC mature from a re-purposed church sanctuary with wooden pews to a world-class performance center,” said the Schwings in a joint statement. “We are delighted to help complete the Bridge to the Future project because LBC is vital to Sonoma County. We hope our Salon will be a venue for LBC supporters and friends to enjoy hospitality, conviviality and education.”

“Joan and Mack Schwing have been instrumental in the conception, implementation, and now, the finalization of the Bridge to the Future renovation project,” said Board Chair Paul Wilcock. “By providing the final $1 million needed to complete the renovation project, they have ensured its success. The entire LBC community is profoundly grateful for their leadership and commitment to this endeavor.”
The Bridge to the Future is the culmination of major physical improvements to the 44-year-old facility since 2010. 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.

In June 2017, the final phase began. These changes increased and improved accessibility, safety, security and enhancement to the patron experience and include the following:

  • 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 (now the Joan and Mack Schwing Salon)
  • New roof and site-screens
  • Paint for the entire building
  • New multi-paned windows and doors in the Lytton Rancheria Grand Lobby
  • The creation of the new 18,000 square foot, fenced-in Marcia and Gary Nelson Grand Plaza.

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

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