New Conference Center Just in Time for Surge of Business

exterioratnight1 150x150 New Conference Center Just in Time for Surge of BusinessAccording to an LA Times article, conferences and conventions are expected to be big business in 2012. Well, then, isn’t it apropos that Fairplex just opened the new, state-of-the-art Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center?

The $28 million, 85,000-square-foot conference center opened in January but was formally introduced to business and community partners at a grand opening March 14. The center – the culmination of 15 years of work on the part of Fairplex’s leadership team and the surrounding community – features amazing technology capabilities, is energy efficient and looks spectacular. It’s the only facility of its caliber in the region, with versatile space and a ballroom with a dining capacity for 1,000 – allowing for meetings, presentations and parties of all sizes.

californiaballroomtheater1 150x150 New Conference Center Just in Time for Surge of BusinessWhile the actual construction process may have taken 22 months, it was the years-long work leading up to the 2010 groundbreaking that was truly a community effort. The project was made possible with funding from the Los Angeles County Fair Association, county of Los Angeles, city of Pomona, Economic Development Adminsitration and the Small Business Administration. As Rep. Grace Napolitano said: “A conference center of this magnitude is unheard of in this area. This jewel of a Center will attract businesses and educational organizations to meet and empower the entrepreneurs of tomorrow to succeed.”

boardroom 150x150 New Conference Center Just in Time for Surge of BusinessCheck out our web page for more photos and information on the Conference Center. For information on hosting an event there, contact Cindy Smith at or call (909) 868-5954.

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore”

Fairplex’s assistant director of development Laura Smolka-Gallardo is our guest blogger this week:

Do you remember reading the beloved limericks in Shel Silverstein’s books as a child? (Do you know where the sidewalk ends?)

Or perhaps you remember watching the Halloween episode of “The Simpsons” when Homer, Marge, and Bart recreate Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven?”

Experiencing poetry goes beyond memorizing and reciting meter in front of your sixth grade class (though I still remember all of the words to “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost!).

This weekend at Fairplex, poetry will come to life through 250 student artworks in the inaugural “ArtReach” regional art exhibition.  The call for submissions challenged students to create a dialogue between two different art forms, and the response has been greater than expected!

Held at the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts, the artworks featured in the exhibition were selected thorugh a juried process.  The show represents students of 27 art teachers from 17 public high schools representing 9 local districts.  Students from the Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC), a program of The Learning Centers at Fairplex, will also be participating, displaying works from their classes held on-site at the Fairplex grounds.

In addition to the words of Silverstein, Poe, and Frost, a variety of poetry served as the students’ inspiration to create their entries (20 pieces alone were inspired by Poe’s work, including seven about “The Raven”).  Some students used lyrics from their favorite song or even composed their own poetry for the competition.  Just as varied is the range of media and content submitted, from digital media to ceramics, from cement sculpture to portraiture.

Lugene Whitley, the exhibition’s manager/curator, noted the need for such an opportunity: “Teachers have shared with me that there are very few, if any, opportunities for students to display their artistic talents.  Most student artworks are exhibited at their schools or in small gallery spaces, so to have a space like the Sheets Gallery where hundreds of students can see their work professionally framed and presented to a large audience is really very special.  It has also allowed our CTEC students the hands-on opportunity to layout and install an exhibition.”

So if you see me at the door on Friday night during the ArtReach Opening Reception, be sure to start me off with “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”

Friday, March 2
6 – 9 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday, March 3 & 4
noon – 5 p.m.

Parking and entrance at Gate One