Palenke Arts is a multicultural arts organization whose mission is to educate, inspire and transform the community of Seaside through the arts. Our organization was founded in 2015 by a committed group of artists, educators and community members, led by Juan L. Sánchez.

We recognized the urgent need for multicultural arts and music programs and events in the city of Seaside, especially for the youth, and envisioned the creation of a multicultural arts center.  

Thus, in 2016 Palenke Arts was officially launched, obtaining fiscal sponsorship under the Action Council of Monterey County. In October 2016, Palenke Arts started offering classes and events at our site within the Martin Luther King School of the Arts campus. On December 24, 2018, Palenke Arts filed articles of incorporation with the State of California, adopted bylaws, elected a founding Board of Directors and on July 15, 2019 filed for 501c3 tax exempt status as a nonprofit corporation to the IRS.

Palenke Arts provides a space that does not exist elsewhere in Seaside: a dedicated multicultural arts center offering free and low cost arts-based classes and events to many families who would not traditionally be able to afford them. We aim to address the issue of inequity in the arts by imbuing our programs with high-interest, culturally-relevant offerings that are accessible for everyone.

Over the past three years, we have offered low and no-cost weekly classes to over 120 unduplicated students yearly in beginning orchestra, beginning band, choral singing, Latin jazz, hip hop dance, visual arts, Afro Cuban drumming, West African drumming, piano, guitar, violin, cinematic arts, audio production, and Latin dance. We have also hosted a two-week summer art camps for local students.

What We've Achieved

  • Transformed an old gym locker room into a multifunctional and vibrant arts center to host classes and performances, featuring a baby grand piano, a computer lab/office and small lounge area for parents.

  • Recruited and trained professional teachers and volunteers to teach classes in including Bilingual Chorus, Latin Jazz, Visual Arts, Cinematic Arts, Hip Hop Dance, Latin Percussion, West African Drumming and Audio Production.

  • Established partnerships with over 20 different nonprofits institutions, and businesses, including MPUSD, Arts Council of Monterey County, City of Seaside, CSUMB, Monterey Jazz Festival, CPY, Monterey Pops, Wild Plum Café, Trader Joe’s and Monterey Bay Aquarium among others.

  • Performed for over 4,000 audience members yearly, including performances at the World Theater, Colton Hall's Memorial Day concerts with the Monterey County Pops, the Golden State Theater, and the City of Seaside’s Winterland and Earth Day celebrations.

  • We have also held monthly community events and performances at our site, including a World music series featuring performers from Morocco, Veracruz, Oaxaca (Mexico), Japan, Nicaragua, Spain and the United States.

  • Presented four editions of the Palenke Arts Festival, a free event at Laguna Grande Park in Seaside, featuring professional and touring bands as well as student ensembles, family art activities, and local nonprofits assisted by over 40 volunteers.