Santa Rosa's Luther Burbank Center for the Arts gets $1M gift toward renovation project

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Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa on Tuesday announced a $1 million gift that it states will help complete a more than $11 million program to improve the 44-year-old facility.

The latest gift comes from Joan and Mack Schwing, the center announced. The couple’s gift helps fund a multi-phase series of improvements the center labels a “Bridge to the Future.”

Overall improvements done since 2010 include 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.

Mack Schwing is a former director of the Sonoma State University Wine Business Program, a post he left in 2007 after more than four years. He’d previously been a partner in the New York office of Deloitte & Touche. He also served as chairman of the foundation connected to Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm.

To recognize the gift, the center said its Fireside Room, an intimate 1,525-square-foot venue used for small gatherings, will be renamed the Joan and Mack Schwing Salon.

Other donors to the bridge project include 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.

The center annually presents more than 230 performances in music, dance, theater, renowned speakers, and comedy; provides education programs serving 40,000 children and adults; and hosts more than 1,000 community events. It is owned and operated by the Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation.

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