A dusty corner of the Reedley College campus was the focus of great excitement Wednesday morning with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts.
Harold McClarty, owner of HMC Farms, said that when he was asked why his family was making a significant donation to the project, his response was that “there’s nothing more important than music and art. It makes you human. It’s what we’re all about.”
Reedley College, one of the Valley’s oldest campuses, has music and art in its curriculum but has lacked a place to showcase the work of students, faculty, and the community.
That’s going to change with the opening of the McClarty Center, President Jerry Buckley said.
The 24,000-square-foot center in the northeast corner of campus off Reed Avenue will be a state-of-the-art facility, with features not found in other Valley performing centers, said Robert Petithomme, managing principal of Darden Architects, the center’s designer.
He said the McClarty Center will draw audiences from all over.
Celebrating the groundbreaking of an arts and music center seems especially timely now, State Center Chancellor Carole Goldsmith said. Reedley College is one of four colleges in the State Center Community College District.
“If anything, these last two years of having been shuttered and in our homes, and now as we’re facing incredible turmoil globally, it’s really the arts, it’s the ability to come together and sing, and dance, that bring us together as humans, that bring us together in love,” she said. “And Reedley College now will have a place for our students and our community to come together and do just that, to celebrate life.”
The McClarty Center will include the 500-seat Pete Peters Theatre, a secured art gallery, green room, conference room, concessions and an event gathering space. The project is estimated to cost $28 million.