Palenke Arts was formed in August 2015 in Seaside, California by a committed group of artists, educators and community members in recognition of the urgent need of multicultural arts and music programs and events for the youth in our community.
In January 2016, led by former Monterey Community Foundation officer Judy Sulsona, the Palenke Arts core team completed our strategic plan, and formalized our mission, vision and values. In February 2016 we obtained fiscal sponsorship under the Action Council of Monterey County. In October 2017 an agreement was signed with MPUSD to use a 2,000 sq. ft space at King Elementary as our new home, and transitioned ourselves from a planning to an implementation stage.
In November 2017, after an arduous cleaning and construction process led by our volunteers and staff, Palenke Arts transformed the old locker room space into an inviting multifunctional facility featuring a performing/practicing area for musicians and dancers, instrument storage, a small office also used for recording projects, and a small lounge area for parents. Our first classes started that month, and our first event was a Day of the Dead Celebration in conjunction with King elementary and Turnaround Arts. The Grand Opening ceremony was held on February 17, 2017.
What We've Achieved
- Transformed an old gym locker room into a multifunctional 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 teachers and volunteers to teach 8 different classes, including Youth Chorus, Latin Jazz, Visual Arts, Mariachi, Hip Hop Dance, Latin Percussion and Audio Production.
- Established partnerships with 26 different service organizations, institutions, and businesses, including MPUSD, the Arts Council of Monterey County, the City of Seaside, CSUMB, Monterey Jazz Festival, CPY, Monterey Pops, and Monterey Bay Aquarium among others.
- Taught classes to 80 unduplicated students and performed for over 5,000 audience members, including performances at the World Theater, Colton Hall's Memorial Day, Golden State Theater, and for Jackson Browne.
- Hosted 6 different community events and performances at our site, including a classical piano recital, two singer-songwriter concerts, a multicultural arts student showcase, a Day of the Dead celebration and drama production of Seaside High School students.
- Presented two editions of the Palenke Arts Festival, a free event at Laguna Grande Park in Seaside, featuring both professional and touring bands as well as student ensembles.