The Cultural Heart of Sonoma County Beats on Despite the Fires

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Scorched sculptures by Bruce Johnson on the grounds of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa (Photo: Cy Musiker/KQED)

We produced the Do List from the stage of the Luther Burbank Center For the Arts in Santa Rosa, because for so many, it's the cultural and communal heart of the city. Formerly a church, the sprawling campus offers music shows with a lot of country stars and other performances, a sculpture garden, classrooms and a community gathering space.

"For generations, people have had their weddings here," executive director Rick Nowlin told us before we recorded the show. "They come to exhibitions here. I speak to people and I'll say, 'How many people have been to the center?' And invariably everyone, everyone will raise their hands."

The Luther Burbank Center, pictured in 2009.
The Luther Burbank Center, pictured in 2009. (Wiki/StephenG3)

As Gabe Meline noted, it’s a minor miracle the center still stands. The fire destroyed sculptures, landscaping, part of an instrument library, and classrooms. Thankfully the main auditorium and a smaller black box theater are in good shape.

We're highlighting just two of the center's many upcoming shows, the first being a demonstration of the center's strong country music programming:

Nov. 26: Dwight Yoakam, a preacher of the Bakersfield sound, Details here.


And here's a show by Sacramento's Ballet Folklorico demonstrating the center's commitment to the Latino community:

Dec. 8: 11th Annual Posada Navideña by Ballet Folklórico de Sacramento Details here.