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Besides the art exhibit inside, three bands (The Medium Blue, Videotape, and Luke Warm & The Flat Growlers) will be playing in the adjacent outdoor plaza as food trucks hold court alongside a beer and wine garden.
Virtual reality demos will be in effect, and a photo booth will also be on hand offering revelers a free photo to commemorate the occasion. In addition, CMAC staff will be offering tours of the facility as well as showing off its legendary mobile production van (cameras will be set up too so that members can practice using the MPV) which will be parked outside.
While tonight’s festivities are billed as a “members appreciation night,” the general public is enthusiastically encouraged to attend. In fact, if you’re not already a member, tonight’s fest is a perfect opportunity to discover this fantastic local resource and learn about its mission.
So what is CMAC? It’s a non-profit community media center that serves Fresno and Clovis, offering workshops to the public, as well as the tools and training to produce and broadcast high-quality original content. It’s also the area’s public-access television provider, with a public channel, an education channel, and a government channel that can be seen on Comcast Xfinity channels 93, 94, and 96, or on AT&T U-Verse channel 99; programs are also available live or on demand at CMAC.tv. There’s even a CMAC YouTube channel that features original content by members.
Basically, it’s a one-stop shop for learning how to create original video-based content which is then broadcast on our local airwaves. It’s an equal-opportunity resource for independent creators to find their voices, hone their skills, and tell their stories.
Membership starts at $25 for students, $50 for non-students, and includes a range of core workshops that run on a monthly basis and give you all the knowledge and materials you’ll need to put your own show on the air. These include preproduction and post-production, field production, studio production, and iOS video production. Other available workshops include an audio-for-video course and a screenwriting support group. Once members have completed workshops, they unlock access not only to a treasure trove of portable gear and equipment—including cameras (which can be checked out for projects), microphones, and lights—but also to the facility’s 1000-square-foot production studio, its private editing suites, conference rooms, classroom space, and computer lab.
CMAC’s state-of-the-art facilities present a marked contrast to the Classical-Revival architecture of the edifice it’s housed in, the historic Fresno Bee building on the corner of Van Ness and Calaveras Street (1555 Van Ness Avenue). Built in 1922 by architect Leonard F. Starks, the building was vacated by the Bee in 1975 then turned into the Fresno Metropolitan Museum in 1984. In 2010, upon that museum’s closure, the City of Fresno took ownership, and on April 13, 2012, CMAC began its tenure. Inside the imposing old facade is a futuristic-looking marvel of modern broadcasting, which must be seen to be believed.
While you’re inside, be sure and check out Valerie Runningwolf’s amazing ArtHop installation of her mixed-media pieces featuring “contemporary images that awaken the spirit and offer a sense of inner peace.”
Outside, Luke Warm and the Flat Growlers will take the stage at 6 p.m., to be followed by a short presentation at 7 p.m. that will pay homage to the Producers and Volunteers of the Year, recognizing outstanding achievements in original local programming and exceptional volunteer support at the CMAC facility. Videotape performs at 7:30, and the Medium Blue (formerly Tomi Jean) comes on the scene to perform at 8:30.
Smokin’ Burrito, Meltdown Bistro, and Ooh De Lolli will be providing the evening’s eats, while Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. and MissionBell Winery keep spirits flowing in the alcohol garden.
So hop over to CMAC tonight and find your inspiration!