Community Newsletter
February 2021
Dear Friends of East Bay Center,

February is Black History Month, and we here at the Center are celebrating by honoring the artistic traditions of the African Diaspora in our community. Under normal circumstances, our faculty artists present work honoring the Black experience at assemblies in various WCCUSD schools. Due to COVID, however, we are unable to offer these assemblies in person. Instead, our School Partnerships department worked with our media department and our artistic faculty to produce a beautiful video titled "A Celebration of Black History Through the Arts," which you can watch here! Black history is not only an intrinsic part of Richmond's story, but of the United States as a whole, and we are proud to honor this legacy by sharing the music, dance, and theater traditions of the Black community with our students and families.

In power and solidarity,

Staff Members, Faculty Artists, and Board of Directors
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
Now Accepting Young Artist Diploma Program Applications for 2021

  • The deadline for submitting YADP applications for 2021 is Wednesday, March 31st
  • Due to limited space this year, the Center will prioritize applicants with a love of the arts and who are entering the 7th and 8th grades in the Fall of 2021.
  • Click here for more information on the Diploma Program, as well as to access the online application form.
Applying to college? Join our Scholarship Workshop this Friday!
Zoom link Friday, February 26th @ 7:00-8:15pm
Teaching in the Time of COVID

Nearly one year into the COVID pandemic, our School Partnerships Teaching Artists have successfully adjusted their lessons to an online format, and have seen their students become more comfortable with socially-distanced learning over time. Following is a brief reflection by Teaching Artist Patricia Drozda (shown left) on the successes and challenges of teaching in WCCUSD public schools during this pandemic:

Teaching music and theatre online is challenging but there are daily moments of joy and connection. I've gotten to hear students' excitement for their upcoming birthdays and holidays, have seen their Christmas trees, and met puppies, cats, babies, sisters, brothers, moms, dads, and even a rooster. And they've expressed their sadness about losing relatives and missing their friends and teachers. Amidst everything we are going through, I continue to be impressed by their never-ending creativity. Recently in a 4th/5th grade class at Stege Elementary, I introduced a game called "One-word story improvisation," where each student says one word to build each sentence of a story. Usually when I play it with classes, it's a bit of a struggle to get students to share words and often it takes a while to build up to a story that makes sense. Not this time! The students almost immediately transitioned to the one sentence improv structure (each student says a sentence) and quickly from that to each person saying a whole portion of the story. And not only that, the stories had all of the necessary components: a beginning, middle, end, obstacles, climaxes, interesting characters, and well thought out endings. Each student built upon the last student's ideas and worked together to craft a few wonderful tales! There was even a special needs student who has never participated before who surprised us all with the ending to a story. 

These improvisation exercises are designed to move students toward the creation of their own original material this Spring.They are working on writing their own songs inspired by a song we've been learning, "A Million Dreams." Students are sharing their dreams for their future careers and lives and putting them into verse form. Some students are even drawing pictures of their bright futures to go along with the songs, which we'll share virtually at the end of the year. 

I am honored to get the opportunity to work with these students weekly through East Bay Center's School Partnerships program. I've always found the students at Stege Elementary to be exceedingly creative and good sports with all we do, and I look forward to continuing to learn about them and their dreams. - Patricia Drozda, Teaching Artist and School Partnerships Program Associate
Quarantine Performances: A Playlist

Even in the midst of a pandemic, East Bay Center students and faculty continue to create, learn, and grow through the power of the arts. To see our students' progress over the last semester of virtual instruction, check out our "Quarantine Performances" playlist on YouTube to see all group class, private lesson, and ensemble performances of 2020!
Meet Jamar Welch, Hip Hop Dance Faculty at East Bay Center!
Jamar (a.k.a Jammer) received his Degree in Theater Arts from the Los Angeles Theater Academy. His performing arts study began at the age of 9 at East Bay Center. Jamar is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of “Housin Authority”(HA), a Hip Hop dance company created in 1991 in Richmond. HA was labeled “the pioneers of the street dance movement” by the Oakland Tribune in 1997, and in October 2009 received a Lifetime Dance Achievement Award at the Freestyle Stage at World of Dance, San Mateo. As an actor/dancer, Jamar has appeared in videos, commercials, films, plays and concerts. He has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Usher, Beyoncé, Bette Midler, and Diana Ross, to name a few. As a dance instructor Jamar has toured internationally, teaching his signature “Hip House Soul” dance style in Guatemala, Japan, and Hawaii.

Check out Jamar dancing with Wayne Brady on "Let's Make a Deal."
The Hewlett 50
Commissioning Project

We want to let our community know about the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission in Folk and Traditional Arts! This is an opportunity for Bay Area nonprofits to partner with an artist from anywhere in the world to create and premiere new works of folk and traditional art. Each $150,000 award will fund projects based in dance, music, storytelling, and theater, and other traditional arts expressions that have a strong performative element. Applications are now open! Click to learn more about this opportunity:

Make a difference while you shop. Search for gifts at generate donations for East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. 
East Bay Center is grateful for the support of:

Adobe Community Giving, AmazonSmile, Anonymous Foundation, Anonymous Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation, Anonymous Fund at Vanguard Charitable, Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, Bandcamp Inc., Beneficial State Bank Foundation, Berklee City Music Network, Louis L. Borick Foundation, California Arts Council, The California Endowment, Mark Cavagnero Associates, Chamberlin Family Foundation, City of Richmond, Clif Bar Family Foundation, Contra Costa County CDBG Program, Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation, S.H. Cowell Foundation, Crankstart, Crescent Porter Hale Foundation, D’Addario Foundation, Dale Fund of the SF Foundation, John Derning Fund of the SF Foundation, Dodge & Cox, ELMA Music Foundation, Equity Community Builders, Farella Braun + Martel LLP, Fenwick Family Foundation, Fullerton Family Foundation of the Marin Community Foundation, GEICO, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Golden Gate Meats, Bill Graham Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation, Hellman Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ifshin Violin, Interactive Resources, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Kaiser Permanente, Koret Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Richard & Emily Levin Foundation, Levin Richmond Terminal Corp, Littler Mendelson Foundation, Mechanics Bank, Meyer Sound Laboratories, Moca Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New West Company, Overaa Construction, Pacific Harmony Foundation, Anon Fund of the Peace Development Fund, Quest Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Irene S. Scully Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation, Sequoia Trust of the San Francisco Foundation, Morris Stulsaft Foundation, Tencue, Travis Credit Union, Wayne & Gladys Valley Foundation, Wareham Development, Wells Fargo Bank, Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation, Wolfgang Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation, Zalec Familian & Lilian Levinson Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts COVID Response Fund, and Corporate Employee Gift Programs at Adobe, AT&T, Autodesk, Bank of America, Chevron, Clorox, Dolby, GE, Kaiser, LPL Investors, Oracle, PG&E, Semantec, UPS, Wells Fargo, Verisk, Walt Disney and City, State, Federal employees.
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