How we work

Music | Dance | Performing Arts | Visual Arts

Since 2012, the Riverside Arts Academy (RAA) has been driven by its mission to provide arts and music education to under-resourced youth in Riverside ages 4-17 to positively affect the trajectory of their lives. As a community, we collectively understand all students benefit from learning about and experiencing the arts; that it is an essential part of achieving success in school, work, and life. 

RAA strongly supports the current research that making music impacts learning and that early music instruction links to literacy. It’s more than just music it’s about changing lives through music! 

In 2015, RAA and its community partners launched RAA’s music program, the Riverside Arts Academy Music Project (RAAMP). RAAMP provides low to reduced-cost music instruction to children in four elementary schools in Riverside Unified School District and one elementary school in Alvord Unified School District. RAAMP also provides Saturday music instruction at our two sites at the Cesar Chavez Community Center and California Baptist University. As of recently, due to COVID-19, RAAMP has shifted all of its music instruction to an online platform, still offering the same high-quality curriculum and teaching to our students. RAA’s quick turnaround in adapting to online has enabled us to provide our students with music enrichment, community, and structure during this uncertain season.

Donations provide funding to support Riverside Arts Academy, enabling our organization to contribute to the vibrancy of the community by providing artistic enrichment that contributes to the academic, cultural, and social well-being of Riverside’s youth. 

Through the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department, RAA also provides additional music classes as well as instruction in visual and performing arts.

Riverside Arts Academy is made possible by sponsorship and donations from the community.

“As a long time teacher, I appreciate the positive impact music and art have on learning and brain development. In fact, my son works in the music business, an interest that started when he was very young and fostered by teachers and family. Unfortunately, not all schools can provide broad arts and music programming, which makes organizations like the Riverside Arts Academy invaluable to our communities and deserving of our support.”

Jose Medina — California State Assembly Member, 61st District

Our Instructors

Maestro Gene Moon

Conducting all around the world, maestro Gene Moon has graced the podium of orchestras on four continents over the course of his career. Beginning the fall of 2018, Dr. Moon joined the Riverside Arts Academy as Music Director. In addition to his responsibilities with the Academy, he is also on the faculty of California Baptist University serving as Director of Orchestral Studies. His recent posts have included Director of Orchestral Activities at Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX), Artistic Director of the East Texas Youth Orchestras (Tyler, TX) and Music Director and Conductor of the Longview Symphony Orchestra (Longview, TX).

Dr. Moon’s career has led him conducting appearances throughout the United States and overseas in Asia and South America. An avid champion of music education, he dedicates his work to inspire and train future musicians, seen through his countless work with school instrumental programs and youth orchestras, such as the East Texas Youth Orchestra program, which grew from 22 members to 120 members over the course of three years under his artistic direction.

Sought after, nationally and internationally, maestro Moon has led performances with orchestras including Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín, Gangnam Symphony Orchestra and All-State orchestras in Arkansas and Louisiana along with orchestras of the University of Macau Orchestra and Hong Kong Baptist University and many region honor orchestras and festivals throughout the United States. He is on faculty with the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and work with hundreds of young musicians from all around the world each summer.

Dr. Moon’s previous posts include the faculties at the University of Central Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma, the Mid-Del school district and as music director and conductor of the Oklahoma Youth Symphonies.

An avid instrumentalist, Moon actively performs as pianist and violist in the collaborative settings of chamber and orchestral music. He holds degrees from the University of Central Oklahoma, New York University and the University of Oklahoma. The list of distinguished conductors Moon has studied with include Jonathan Shames, John Jeter, and, in masterclass, with world-renown conductor, Sergiu Comissiona. His piano studies have been guided by Jan Pokorny Steele, Lee Dai Wook, Dierdre O’Donohue, Ed Gates and noted Van Cliburn medalist, Valery Kuleshov while his viola studies have been with Ralph Morris and Matthew Dane.


  • Ruth Noemy Wheeler
  • Ellie Bunker
  • Kybra Minisee
  • Jay Casillas
  • Elisa Laraway
  • Hannah Jones
  • Efren Diaz
  • Jerusha Lumley
  • Katelynn Azevedo
  • Anna Crabtree
  • Melissa Blanco


  • Mario Gutierez
  • Ryan Gross
  • Alec Richard
  • Stephen Layton
  • Greg Trujillo


  • Dawn Gilmore
  • Melody Leon
  • Carissa Waite