Gilroy Arts Alliance (GAA) is the non profit organization that operates the Gilroy Center for the Arts (The Center). We advocate on behalf of the arts in Gilroy and the surrounding areas and support the artistic and cultural activities of the creative talent in our community. Besides providing human and material support to numerous artistic organizations, the Gilroy Arts Alliance continues to organize and present a free summer art program for students in Grades 5 -8, called Summer of Art. We've hosted an annual fundraiser called Diva/Divos Concert showcasing local vocalists. We also collaborate (with Gilroy Downtown Business Association) on the annual Gilroy Art and Wine Stroll and Beer Crawl.
GAA also publicizes local arts events and builds awareness of arts-related policies and issues with email newsletters to a database of local arts supporters. We actively raise funds to provide financial support to a variety of visual and performing arts groups, artists’ scholarships, and arts education in the schools. A particularly exciting and huge leap forward for our organization occurred in 2010, when the Gilroy Arts Alliance leased the property that the City of Gilroy purchased for the future Gilroy Center for the Arts. The 2.5 acre property in downtown Gilroy will someday be the site of a campus of multi-use performance and visual arts buildings. Budget concerns, the recession, and consequent lack of building impact fees have put the actual construction on hold for the foreseeable future. In order to “lay claim” to the property so that its use was not re-directed away from the arts AND to build and strengthen the audience and arts organizations, the Gilroy Arts Alliance took on the major step of using the site and an existing 5,000 square foot building as an Interim Center for the Arts. The exhausting re-do of a run-down second hand store building, entailing countless volunteer hours and donated materials, began in 2010 and has resulted in a useable space for art exhibits, small sized performances, and workshops. Volunteer docents have made it possible for us to keep the Center open to the public. In the spring of 2010 , we offered a portion of the bare land we lease to a group of community farmers: a thriving community garden, the Gilroy Demonstration Garden, was built, planted and brought to harvest every summer since. Artists have gathered there frequently for plein air painting. Our first exhibit of local artists’ works was held in September 2010 and we haven't stopped yet. In January 2011, we partnered with a brand new Limelight Actors Theater, and created our first Resident Theater Company. That same year, we were given a generous donation by the Christopher Family, resulting in a much needed renovation of the Center. With new floors, lights, storage, parking lot, lighted marquee and new ADA compliant restroom, we began planning even more exhibits, programs, classes, workshops and meetings at the Center. In 2013 we contracted our first Operation Manager for the Center and we have continued to grow. At the end of our first year, we had 350 people come through The Center. In 2015, we brought 6,500 people to The Center.
The are now a thriving, busy place, bursting with creative activities and quickly gaining community interest and support. It is a focal point for a broader community interest in the arts and serves as a foundation upon which we will build a cohesive, involved arts community in Gilroy.
Our mission is to build a collaborative arts community, promoting and supporting multicultural arts in and around Gilroy.
Marianne Eichenbaum, President
Alan Obata, Vice President
Sheryl Cathers, Recording Secretary
Sharon Albert, Board Member
Kevin Heath, Executive Director
Louise Shields, Advisory Committee
Steve Pattie, Advisory Committee
Susan Graeser, Advisory Committee
Beth Dewey, Volunteer
Joan Heiderbrink, Volunteer
Karen Pogue, Concessions Volunteer