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City of Tracys two-gallery downtown theatre thriving in rough economy
The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts is a redevelopment success story in the heart of Tracys downtown district. The once shuttered old building is now the gem of downtown Tracy. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO


• PLACE: Grand Theatre Center for the Arts

• ADDRESS: 715 Central Avenue, Tracy

• PHONE: 209.831.6858

• TICKETS: E-mail: for concert tickets.

• ED PROGRAMS: for the arts education program.

• DIRECTIONS: From Manteca 120 Bypass: Head south on I-5, exit 205 West towards San Francisco, exit MacArthur Blvd., head south. Right onto 11th Street, left onto Central to 715 Central Avenue.

• PARKING: Free parking is available on nearby streets and public lots at 6th St. and Central Avenue. Patron drop-off and pick-up available at loading zone on Central Avenue.

Transforming the Written Word is the theme of the art exhibit running through Nov. 1 at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts in Tracy. 


Curated by Susan Richardson, a Tracy educator who is also a poet and an artist in her own right, the artists spotlighted in the show combine artistic marriages of “text, words and gestural marks” to deliver messages in visual forms.

The featured artists are Ray Beldner, Thomas Ingmire, Shannon Kaye, and Francesca Pastine, all from the Bay Area, and Richardson. An Artists’ Gallery Tank and Reception on Saturday, Sept. 27, from noon to 2 p.m. will provide the public an opportunity to meet these artists in person. Admission is free.

This exhibition is just one of the many attractions that have been putting Tracy on the map since the Grand Theatre was opened in 2007. The numbers alone attest to that. The Grand Theatre averages 45,000 to 50,000 visitors a year with 60 percent of them from the local area and the remaining 40 percent from out of town. And, despite the economy, those numbers and the wide variety of art shows and activities that takes place in this renovated and modernized building in the heart of downtown Tracy keep on growing. Even more remarkable is the fact this unique home for the arts in Tracy has been enjoying continued success and growth despite the fact its budget had been reduced several times since it officially opened.

There are two galleries inside the Grand Theatre where the works of various artists working in a variety of art disciplines are available for public viewing during business hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Private visits are also available by prior arrangement. One of the galleries is called the co-op which is referred to as the “sales area.” Art pieces from raku to fiber arts and three-dimensional woodworks as well as one-of-a-kind, limited-edition illustrated books, can be purchased here. A number of freebies such as art magazines are also available here to anyone interested. The other gallery houses the changing exhibitions which run for eight weeks.

The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts is under the city’s Cultural Arts Division in the City Manager’s Office. The city’s Arts Education Program is also located inside this facility. It’s another city project that speaks of success based on numbers. Its annual enrollment runs from 2,000 to 2,500 a year.

The above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the arts at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts located at 715 Central Avenue in Tracy. For further details on present and future shows and programs, visit