The greater Santa Barbara arts community was treated Thursday night to the opening preview of the Arts Mentorship Program's new state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center on Santa Barbara's Eastside.
One of the large dance studios was the setting for a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception and gathering of supporters and donors to the new cooperative center, which is located at the corner of Cota and Salsipuedes streets. Old timers may remember it as the location of the old Hayward’s warehouse.
The Arts Mentorship Program and Santa Barbara Dance Arts have formed a unique partnership that will allow the two organizations to share resources in order to bring the community maximum benefit.
SBDA holds a 10-year lease at the 531 E. Cota St. building, and AMP is the subtenant and official school of the Arts Mentorship Program. AMP’s Rent Subsidy Program allows small, emerging performance groups to affordably rent rehearsal and performance space in the 9,000-square-foot facility.
The Santa Barbara Dance Arts has been in the community for 17 years. It offers classes in jazz, hip hop, contemporary, ballet, aerial, Broadway, acro/tricks, conditioning and combo classes for tots, and a full spectrum of adult-friendly classes. Dancers ages 3 years to adult are welcome to participate, and there are classes for all levels and abilities. The unique partnership with the Arts Mentorship Program allows the organization to offer scholarships and affordable rehearsal space at the new center.
Actress Pamela Dillman Haskell served as the event's mistress of ceremonies.
“I attended nearby Santa Barbara Junior High School when I was growing up," she said. "We didn’t have anything like this. We are so blessed to have this facility for our young people.”
Recognized that evening were donors to the facility and partner organizations, including Michael and Anne Towbes, Jim and Stephanie Sokolove, Jerry and Helene Beaver, David Beaver and Renee Courington, Aaron and Jill Transki, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, United Way and others. The Santa Barbara Foundation recently approved a strategy grant to help the cause.
A dance showcase was performed by several dance groups that utilize the new Performing Arts Center. Dave Pintard (his niece Kelby performed) was instrumental in assisting in the real estate transactions with the Beavers, who generously donated upgrades to the building.
It was noted that the new center is strategically located where young people can easily access the facility. It is within walking distance of the Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., Santa Junior High School and Santa Barbara High School.
Arts Mentorship Executive Director Dana Wallock also addressed the crowd: “We are able to provide nearly 1,000 full and partial dance scholarships because of the support of our donors. We have 1,300 students, and we touch 8,000 individuals in the community each year.”
So far, $500,000 has been raised by the organization. An additional $200,000 is needed. Available opportunities include naming the building ($250,000) and a studio ($50,000).
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.