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North Bay’s Premier Arts Center: Luther Burbank Center

Find out about Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.

Explore the arts in a wide variety of forms at the nonprofit Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, with world-class performers, dramatic outdoor sculptures, and more in a fabulous setting in Santa Rosa.

Recently completed multi-million-dollar upgrades to the 40-year-old facility created ideal audience conditions.

"The furthest seat is just 75 feet away from the front of the main stage," said Rick Nowlin, the center's president and CEO. "There are incredible sightlines to the stage. It allows for a very intimate experience."

An eclectic mix of music, theater, dance, comedy, lectures, and family shows hits the newly renovated stage year-round in the 1,625-seat Ruth Finley Person Theater.

"I think the variety of our offerings is what makes Luther Burbank Center for the Arts so appealing," Nowlin said.

The 2015-2016 lineup includes comedian Lewis Black, the Parsons Dance Company, Harry Connick Jr., the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, Ballet Folklorico de Sacramento, the Moscow Ballet, the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, and much, much more.

The center's Clover Stornetta Family Fun Series offers a series of children's shows, with acrobats, musical performances, storybook characters, towering puppets, and hilarious improv. Families can participate in free art projects before each show, and meet the cast afterward. The center also offers music and art camps for children, and offers educations programs for both children and adults.

Two resident theater companies call the Wells Fargo Center home. The North Bay Stage Company showcases the talents of regional actors, singers, dancers, musicians, technical crew, and emerging artists through a rich assortment of productions, play readings, group discussions, and education.  And Roustabout Theater trains talented youth and teens, by presenting contemporary musicals and classic plays.

While you're on the center's campus, check out it's vibrant collection of outdoor art. The center's property is dotted with work by regional, national, and international artists, starting with the oversized metal sculptures by artist Robert Ellison that are visible from Highway 101.

Dotted along the center's northern border, 16 massive sculptures made from salvaged old-growth redwood and metal by Bruce Johnson are the first exhibit in the center's new sculpture garden. A campus map with the locations and descriptions of the all sculptures is available online.  Or, with advance reservations (707-800-7512), you can take a docent-led tour of all the center's artwork, including the new sculpture garden.

As one of the North Bay's top arts center, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts hosts more than 100 performances annually, as well as more than 1,000 community events. The center is available for rent for weddings, conferences, and other activities.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, 707-596-0902.

Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.