Community Newsletter
June 2021
Dear Friends of East Bay Center,

Summer is almost upon us, and we are in the midst of a very busy month here at the Center! In addition to honoring Richmond's Black community through Juneteenth celebrations, lifting up our LGBTQ+ community for Pride Month, and welcoming a new cohort of 21 Young Artist Diploma students for their first year at the Center, we are also proud to send off 17 of our graduating high school seniors to colleges around the country (you can read about these grads and their higher education plans here).

All summer instruction at the Center, including the annual Diploma Intensive and our Summer Saturday Series of classes, will be offered virtually. We will, however, be returning to in-person instruction in the Fall (either fully in-person or a hybrid virtual/live format), following local public health and WCCUSD guidelines.

Here's to an exciting month, and an eye toward returning soon to what we love most: bringing our students, families, and community together to experience the joy and healing power of the arts.

Happy June!

Staff Members, Faculty Artists, and Board of Directors
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
Pictured above: 2020-21 Young Artist Diploma Program students.
Richmond Celebrates Juneteenth - Saturday, June 19
East Bay Center will be represented by two young women from our Young Artist Diploma Program at Richmond’s Annual Juneteenth Celebration!

Graduating Diploma student, Naja JiJaga, is serving as one of two Youth Grand Marshals for the caravan from the historic North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church to Kennedy High School. If you’d like to sign up to be a part of the caravan, please email Brandon Evans at [email protected]

Third-year Diploma student, Judah Butler, is performing Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson at noon at the Rally stage, located next to John F. Kennedy High School’s stadium. At 12:30, Center Jazz Program Director Howard Wiley, along with faculty pianist Glenn Pearson, former faculty bassist Aneesa Strings, and drummer Tony Austin will perform a set of blues and jazz music.
Since 1983, East Bay Center has championed the recognition of Juneteenth as one of the most profound celebrations of our country, as well as one of the most fulfilling family days in Richmond with an annual parade and gathering at Nicholl Park. This effort was originally led by former Center Co-Director Willie "DD" Morris (pictured right), originally from Texas, who dedicated his life to fostering Juneteenth and other local festivals along with his belief that every child had talents that deserved to be raised up. 

We anticipate that this year’s Juneteenth will be extra special, celebrating its status as the first new federal holiday created by Congress in nearly four decades, signed into law by President Biden on June 17. 

See you there!
Pride Month at the Center
East Bay Center recognizes and appreciates the contributions of the LGBTQ+ artists in our world. And, as an inclusive community, we welcome and celebrate all of our students, staff and faculty.

In honor of Pride Month, long time Center Faculty Artist and Co-Director of the Center's resident company, Voices of Reason, Valerie Troutt has been commissioned by the Creating Queer Community program to perform at the National Queer Arts Festival on Saturday, June 19 at 5pm.
National Queer Arts Festival 2021
Since 1998, Queer Cultural Center (QCC), located in San Francisco, has curated and produced 24 National Queer Arts Festivals (NQAF) that have featured more than 2,300 LGBTQ+ artists in over 920 different arts and cultural events. The festival has become a Bay Area cultural institution, bringing to life hundreds of performances, visual arts exhibitions, literary readings, and film screenings.
The Creating Queer Community (CQC) program has commissioned over 400 LGBTQ+ artists to create, produce, commission, promote, and document original works examining LGBTQ+ social justice and civil rights issues that debut at the National Queer Arts Festival.
Oakland native Valerie Troutt brings her twenty plus years of vocal arranging and composition skills together to create a soulful songshift, a virtual sanctuary for healing, groove, unapologetic blackness, abundance, and joy. Joined by the vocalist of her award-winning house music ensemble MoonCandy, the Song Sanctuary will be lit with high praise, deep love, hand claps, justice, and the truth. Known as “The Oakland Girl” Valerie brings a women-centric vibe. Deeply connected to her gospel and jazz roots, Valerie’s original songs inspire hope, community, self-care, and the need for love and forgiveness.For more info, including purchasing tickets, please visit:
Young Artist Diploma Program: Summer Intensive
All new Diploma students will participate in a virtual Summer Intensive in lieu of the traditional onsite program due to COVID restrictions. The virtual Summer Intensive will begin on Monday, June 21 and end on Friday, July 23.
Summer Saturday Series
Registration is open until July 1, 2021 for our Summer Saturday Group Class Series at the Center. We hope to see you there!
Diploma Program Graduation 2021
We are so excited to celebrate our Young Artist Diploma Program graduates and their accomplishments! On Friday, June 25 we will be honoring them in a virtual Zoom meeting open to all Diploma students and families.
Showcasing Richmond's Art and Culture
Join East Bay Center, NIAD Art Center, Richmond Art Center, and RYSE Center on Friday, June 25th from 3:30-5:00pm for an afternoon showcase of Richmond arts! Together, these four organizations bring you "Out of the Mouths of Beings," hosted by Richmond’s own Youth Poet Laureate, Sheila McKinney! There will be spoken word, dance, music, visual arts, and movement – building community, love, and togetherness in the virtual space. Let’s kick off the summer right and enjoy the abundance of creativity Richmond has to offer!
Center Closed on Monday, July 5
East Bay Center will be closed on Monday, July 5 in observance of Independence Day. We wish you a safe and joyous holiday!
End-of-Year Statement from Our School Partnerships Department
Having all School Partnerships performing arts classes online this past year made for a challenging and interesting experience! Despite the difficulty, Teaching Artists noticed that in some ways they cultivated more intimate relationships with students due to having a Zoom window into everyone's home. Overall, there was a lot of sharing, joy, playing instruments, singing, and improvisation throughout the year. In lieu of in-person year-end performances, Teaching Artists devised creative and fun ways to celebrate their year with the students. Many invited parents and siblings to share in the arts experience for the last class of the year. One teaching artist, Lydia Martín, produced a final project that showcased students' original music, which they composed on Soundtrap throughout the Spring. Another compiled pre-recorded video/Zoom recordings of student interviews and brief performances of instrumental pieces they learned during the year. Another Teaching Artist asked students to write brief poems and lyrics to celebrate the end of the year. Students were able to feel a sense of accomplishment in demonstrating the skills they learned and a sense of closure for their dedication and participation during such an unusual year. Kudos to the Teaching Artists and students for a year of creativity, expression, and presence in such trying times!

Patricia Drozda
School Partnerships Program Associate

*Pictured above: In-school virtual music class led by Teaching Artist Akwasi Abrefah
Buy East Bay Center a gift! Check out our Amazon Wishlist, where we recently added many items that are useful to the Center's programs and operations.
East Bay Center is grateful for the support of:

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, COVID-19: A Just East Bay Response Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation, S.H. Cowell Foundation, Crankstart, 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 – Special Award in the Arts, 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, The Kresge Foundation, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Richard & Emily Levin Foundation, Levin Richmond Terminal Corp, Littler Mendelson Foundation, Mechanics Bank, Meyer Sound Laboratories, Moca Fund at Schwab Charitable, National Endowment for the Arts, New West Company, Overaa Construction, Pacific Harmony Foundation, 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, 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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