About Us

In spring 2001, architectural planning began to create a new community treasure, a performing arts center that promised to be one of the most important downtown projects in Stanislaus County's history.

In the spring of 2004 construction of a premier civic complex began in the center of this leading agricultural region. The programs at the Gallo Center for the Arts reflect the interests, diversity and history of the people that call the Central Valley their home. It is a landmark in the region for decades to come. The Gallo Center for the Arts opened in the fall 2007. The Gallo Center for the Arts is an outstanding community asset, setting a new standard for all the arts, education, and entertainment for the entire region of Central California.


Regional artists and performers produce shows of a style, size, and quality never deemed possible in the past. Top-flight arts and entertainment from around California, the USA, and around the world appear before audiences from all parts of Stanislaus County and nearby communities. The Center is the focus of arts, entertainment, multicultural programming, and educational activities for the Central Valley. The educational opportunities for elementary, high school, and college students in our community is extraordinary.

The Gallo Center for the Arts is a state-of-the-art performing arts complex in downtown Modesto. The Gallo Center for the Arts is the focus of arts, entertainment, multicultural programming and social activities for the Central Valley for generations to come.

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The Gallo Center for the Arts houses two performance venues, the 1248-seat Mary Stuart Rogers Theater and the 440-seat Foster Family Theater. Each is a proscenium theater with a legitimate stage and fly loft. Both theaters have orchestra pits, stage aprons, and scene docks, and are equipped with modern audio-visual, rigging, drapery, lighting control, orchestra pit lift, and orchestra shell systems, allowing a wide range of acoustical, scenic and staging manipulation.


Foster Family Theater

  • 440-seat concert hall with box seats
  • Orchestra pit with hydraulic lift can accommodate 25 musicians
  • Stage decks with sprung floor construction
  • Stage dimensions 34 feet deep by 80 feet and 10 inches wide
  • Proscenium dimensions 24 feet high by 40 feet wide
How this design was developed

A community driven research committee studied other cities and combined our local needs to develop a performing arts center in Modesto. The recommendations from the studies propose that the facility consist of a 1,200+ seat Main Stage theater and a 400+ seat Second Stage theater. A survey of comparable venues revealed that over an 8-year period, 70% of events are attended by 300 to 700 people and only 5 shows a year on average draw more patrons. As a general principle, it is desirable for a theater to be relatively smaller than larger since a theater that is 2/3 full may seem vacant and less intimate.

The Center is the focus of arts, entertainment, multicultural programming, and educational activities for the Central Valley

Additionally, a few sell-outs are beneficial to the reputation of a theater since it will be seen as a desirable and successful venue. The general consensus among theater operators is that it is far better to have a hall of a size that is comfortable for the great majority of shows, that will sell out from time to time, rather than to incur the cost of building and maintaining a facility that will only be filled a few times a year. Knudson-Benson, the design consultants and the committee also found that the size of a theater is immaterial to touring groups as long as they can obtain their fee and the stage can handle their equipment. Since the purpose of the endowment, in part, is to subsidize performance costs, the seating count will not be the determining factor in obtaining any named bookings. A 400+ seat Second Stage theater is also planned. This theater is intended to be used for local performing groups, lectures, seminars, business meetings, etc. Local groups have indicated that a smaller theater would not meet their needs since most performances are between 300 to 400 people. Additionally, a theater over 400 seats starts to sacrifice intimacy. It was also recommended that the complex include a Founders Room reception hall as an integral element of a performing arts center. It is designed to tie in existing facilities including the State Theater, the increase in arts activities benefiting the entire downtown economy.

About the Gallo Center for the Arts

Operated by:
Project Cost:
Executive Architect:
Design Architect:
Design and Theater Architect:
Acoustical Designer:
General Contractor:

Stanislaus County
Gallo Center for the Arts
$47 million
Nestor + Gaffney Architecture, LLP
Carrier Johnson
John Sergio Fisher & Associates, Inc.
Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc.
Clark and Sullivan

Architect: Nestor+Gaffney Architecture, LLP
Ron Nestor, AIA and Steve Gaffney, AIA and their award-winning firm have earned recognition as one of California's leading architects. Their extensive experience in the design of innovative projects crosses many lines including office buildings, interiors, retail centers, mixed-use developments, large-scale planning projects, historic restoration, and cultural facilities. Among their recognized works are Modesto's Tenth Street Place, the Los Angeles Headquarters of MTA, Howard Hughes Center, Headquarters for Oakley Sunglasses and Etnies Shoes, and the Orange County Museum of Art.

Acoustical Design: Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Inc.
Jaffe Holden Acoustics brings to the project an acoustic design team with decades of practical and artistic experience. JHA was founded by Dr. Christopher Jaffe who is recognized internationally for his innovation and leadership in architectural acoustic design. Over the last four decades he has consulted on over 250 performance halls. JHA has earned numerous awards for their projects including Biltmore Theater and Carnegie Hall in New York.

Design & Theater Architect: John Sergio Fisher & Associate
JSFA specializes in the programming and design of new, restored and renovated theaters, as well as visual arts, performing arts, and entertainment facilities, both public and private. The firm has designed over 100 performing arts venues for drama, musicals, dance, opera, orchestra, band, choral concerts and recitals throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. The firm's in-house theater expertise and services encompass audience chambers, stages and support spaces, seating arrangements and sightlines, acoustics, theatrical lighting control and distribution, rigging and draperies, variable platforms, and stage lifts and machinery.