Turlock's Renovated Library.

The planned look for the newly renovated Turlock Public Library, as depicted on the their official website. (Photo courtesy of Carnegie Arts Center Art Entry page)

After nearly a year of being closed due to renovations, the Turlock Public Library will be coming back, with plans of reopening by this spring. These renovations will be introduced to the public through a grand reopening event, accompanied by an art competition organized by the Carnegie Arts Center and the Friends of Turlock Public Library.

The idea for the competition started with the Friends of Turlock Public Library, an organization designed to support and sponsor the public library.

“We were trying to think of what that grand opening celebration would look like,” said organization secretary Jane Cluff. “It seemed like a really neat idea to inspire people in honor of the opening of this library to create something.” 

Renovations for the library have been a long time coming. The building has been a staple of the Turlock area since its original grand opening in 1916. At that time, the location of the library was on the southwest corner of North Broadway and what is now Florence Street. In 1968, the library was moved to its current location, where it has been since. For the past 50 years, the building has kept its original layout that was designed to serve a population of 36,000. That number has more than doubled since its construction. 

The expanded library will feature more than just new bookshelves. New rooms and facilities are being added to improve visitor experience and enrich the local community. According to Cluff, there will be two major additions to the new library layout.

“Number one, we’re going to have a community room," said Cluff. "We really didn’t have that in the library, a space to have celebrations and all those [activities] they do with the children or guest speakers.”

Cluff said that there will also be a Maker’s Space. “A Maker’s Space is a place where people can go and make things," Cluff explained. "They might have sewing machines, they might have a 3D printer, they might have woodworking tools. It’s just kind of an interesting place where people can be creative.”

With such an anticipated grand reopening and the massive layout changes aimed at providing more resources to the community, it seemed only natural that the theme for the art competition is “Opening Doors.”

While the theme is obviously tied directly to the opening of the new library, director Lisa McDermott of the Carnegie Arts Center believes there’s a lot that can be interpreted for artists to use.

“I’d love to see a lot of different approaches to the idea of how libraries open doors,” McDermott said. “We’re interested in seeing how else people can interpret that through what libraries offer to the community... through offering different forms of enrichment, offering computers that people can use to open doors to new carriers, or children’s storytime hours that can open doors for kid’s imaginations.”

With a hope for such a wide variety of interpretations, a wide variety of mediums are being accepted. The official Call for Entries page contains their full list of accepted media, which includes acrylics, photography, watercolors, ceramics and sculptures, just to name a few. So whether you are a photographer or a traditional artist, Carnegie has “opened the doors” to whatever form of art you feel comfortable with. 

This competition may also be a good opportunity for many artists to get their work displayed, as top pieces will be put on through an exhibition at Carnegie Hall itself.

McDermott states, “Even if things are slowly still opening up by May, the exhibition is on view till August, so there’s a lot of opportunity for the public to see the artwork and become familiar with, especially the younger artists whose work they may not have ever had the opportunity to see before.”

If that’s not enough of an incentive for artists to take part in the upcoming competition, there is also the chance of winning prize money. Four honorable mentions will win $250, two artists will win $500 Awards of Merit, and one artist will be awarded a $1,000 grand prize. 

Between the prize money and the exhibition, this may be a good opportunity for many students, especially those currently studying art, to put their practice on display for the city of Turlock to see.

For those interested, you can find more information on the competition along with where to submit your artwork through their Call for Entries page. And for anyone curious about the Turlock Library expansion, you can find more details about the project on the Stanislaus County website.

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