May 30, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Garcia Center for The Arts’ Annual Benefit Gala: A Celebration of Community, Creativity, and the Legacy of Dr. Ernie Garcia

2 min read

Photos by Manny Sandoval - A table tributes Dr. Ernie Garcia on display at the event, which featured historical articles from El Chicano and the Los Angeles Times, along with a $99 check, which he used to pay the SBCUSD $1 a year for 99 years for the acquisition of the Garcia Center.

In a night of celebration and camaraderie, the Garcia Center for The Arts held its First Annual Benefit Gala at the Sterling Natural Resource Center on July 28th. The gala served as a fundraiser and a salute to the artistic spirit that has been increasingly taking root in San Bernardino. Jorge Oswald Heredia, executive director of Garcia Center for the Arts, took center stage and passionately thanked Dr. Ernie Garcia and his wife, Dottie, for their continued dedication to the community’s artistic endeavors.

IECN Publisher Emeritus Gloria Macias Harrison (center) with representatives from Rep. Pete Aguilar’s Office during the reception, ahead of the program’s live auction.

Dr. Ernie, who passed away on April 6th, 2023, once dreamt of breathing life into an abandoned building, which now stands as the vibrant Garcia Center, was profoundly remembered. “The Garcia Center is named after Ernie and Dottie, who have been pushing for the arts for years. It’s our duty to take on their mission of bringing the arts to San Bernardino,” stated Heredia, expressing his gratitude to the audience, including artists, creators, and organizers from across the region.

The gala began with a touching prayer for Dr. Garcia, whose impact on the community is undeniable. The Orange Show Fairgrounds art show was named after him, and his role as a former dean of education, and his vision for the arts, were celebrated.

The center has served as a hub for art organizations in the city and has demonstrated its versatility and commitment to community service during the pandemic by hosting vaccination clinics. Heredia recognized Eloise Reyes, whose support helped secure significant funding for the center, and Congressman Pete Aguilar for hosting an annual congressional art competition in collaboration with the center.

Eric Servin, program director, enthusiastically shared the center’s ambitious growth plans. “The center has grown at least two times over, and by next year, we’re going to double that. We aim to offer the community free classes next year, including ceramics, printmaking, and an exciting addition – glassblowing.”

The benefit gala was a celebration and affirmation of the Garcia Center’s vision to remain a cultural hub that nurtures creativity, collaboration, and community love. With a lively auction of incredible art pieces, workshops, and experiences, attendees had the opportunity to contribute to the center’s bright future. The center continues to shine as a testament to Dr. Ernie Garcia’s legacy and the vibrant community it serves.

Dr. Ernie Garcia’s Son Tim Garcia (left) and his Wife Dottie Garcia (right) celebrating art and the legacy of The Garcia Center for the Arts.


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