Stephanie Ferro, Graduate Student Worker, Health and Human Services Agency, North County Regions
The visual and performing arts unify and enrich communities by providing opportunities to learn about cultural, social and varying perspectives. The California Center for the Arts, Escondido (the Center) brings people together to discover and create, and helps cultivate opportunities for residents to grow, connect and enjoy the highest quality of life, through the arts.
The California Center for the Arts, Escondido joined Live Well San Diego as a recognized partner on December 5, 2015. The Center offers a variety of programs and events throughout the year, including free performances, museum exhibitions, educational classes and hands-on workshops. Over 40 free events are provided to the community each year, such as the Winter Wonderland Festival, Día de los Muertos Festival and a Fourth of July Celebration. In addition, the Center offers First Wednesdays, a free performance series featuring local artists the first Wednesday of each month from September through June. Annually, about 286,000 people attend programs and events offered at the Center.
“To see the families participate in events where you can listen to music and do art and just be a part of the community itself, that just pulls at my heart strings,” said Ely Ramos, Public Relations and Digital Media Specialist for the Center.
In addition to the events and programs that are currently being offered, the Center will be hosting an abundance of music festivals this season. The Center recently received a grant from the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation to host the Levitt AMP Escondido Music Series , a 10-week free outdoor music festival at Escondido’s historic Grape Day Park beginning on August 25, 2018 and ending on November 3, 2018. This program has been transforming cities across the nation since 2015 and the Center is the first organization in California to be awarded this grant.
The Center’s Museum and Education departments provide arts education to over 38,000 participants of all ages annually. The department partners with over 31 school districts in San Diego County, including Escondido Union School District and Escondido Union High School District, to provide standards-based arts education classes in music, dance, theater, visual arts and media arts. One program offered by the Center is Taste of the Arts, a residency program for third through twelfth grade students. In Taste of the Arts, a Teaching Artist provides weekly instruction during the school day or as part of an after-school program. By providing these types of programs to schools, the students are enriched by the creative tools that arts education has to offer.
“For us to be able to provide these programs and events for the community and to have them at schools, to me that is the heart of what I do and why I am glad to be here,” said Lenise Andrade, Director of Community Engagement for the Center.