And even though the crowd — which sold out the 560-seat main theater just days after tickets went on sale — is gone from the streets of downtown Tracy, the Grand is just getting season No. 5 under way.
“The concert was amazing,” said Jeff Haskett, co-arts program manager and theater supervisor. “It was definitely the successful event we were all hoping for our season kickoff.”
In its fifth years since a dramatic revitalization project that cost more than $20 million in donated and redevelopment funds, the Grand Theatre is still looking to implant itself firmly in the city’s — and region’s — communal consciousness.
“Our biggest goal is still getting the word to residents of Tracy that we’re here and we have quality programming,” Haskett said. “You don’t have to go back into the Bay to have a high quality high profile event.”
That’s part of the impetus behind the Pickler concert and a 2011-12 season that includes a performance by the Stockton Symphony, “Phantom of the Opera,” and a movie series that includes a “Godfather” marathon and a midnight showing of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Judging by the year-end 2010-11 report, the Grand has a strong foundation.
Attendance for the 2010-11 performance season was up 92 percent, and though rentals were down, Haskett said that’s mostly because of a ramped-up performance schedule.
He also said that arts education — a major component of the Grand’s mission — is on the rebound from a down 2010-11 that included a high rate of instructor turnover.
Haskett said the arts center is trying to find new ways to reach out and build the local arts community. For instance, Haskett said, Ken Cefalo of Main Street Music has worked with the theater to host several classes, in an attempt to offer education that school districts can’t because of shrinking budgets.
“There’s a community we want to grow,” he said.
One thing that’s shrinking at the Grand Theatre is the subsidy it receives from the city’s general fund, which was $2.7 million in the red for fiscal year 2010-11. That year, the Grand was given $843,000, a figure that’s down $490,000 since the Grand’s first year of operation.
Eventually, Haskett said, the goal is that the Grand won’t need any subsidy from the city at all. But how long that will take in the current economic climate is anyone’s guess.
“That is the goal, and the city manager has stated that is the goal,” said Haskett. “We have to be realistic where the available money is right now.”