The Riverside Arts Academy is pleased to announce and invite you to the greatest community driven musical, which will be at the landmark Fox Performing Arts Center on Friday, October 21: The City of Love Art of Giving Gala celebrating 10 years of making music and art with the children of Riverside.

The Gala Committee, composed of Alton Garrett, Jr., Stan Morrison, Rich Cardullo, Tracey and Sarah Ayala, Annette Rainey, Kathleen Hartman, Kathie Westley, Andy Melendrez, Lauren Lee Sawyer, Ellie Bennett, Letty Diaz, and Chair Collette Lee, painstakingly decided on “City of Love” from a multitude of wonderful themes for this special event. “City of Love” was just so fitting! It was based upon the fact that, if our community had not rallied to keep the school open and shown love for the children of Riverside and love for social equity in the arts for all, we would not be here today- 10 years later!
There are many people responsible for The Riverside Arts Academy’s survival. They laid the foundation of strength, spurred on by the belief that music and the arts should be accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status. They understood that this was our mission and partnered with us to change the lives of our children through mentoring and music instruction for 5 plus hours a week. This can change a child’s brain and life when accompanied with mentoring and community support.

So, now is the time to dress up in your Sunday best, black tie optional, and purchase your tickets at There are VIP tickets available in the Tower Room with fabulous catering by Landmark 41. Enjoy our “High Note” specialty drink and get in the mood to listen to the heart and soul of our City. We are thrilled to have our first Music Director, Alpin Hong, fly in for this performance, and perform dueling pianos with the incredible Professor Elvin Rodriguez from La Sierra University. RAA Music Director, Dr. Nové Deypalan, will direct a repertoire of classics accompanied by over 200 musicians. We’ll have talent from California Baptist University, La Sierra University, UC Riverside, Riverside and Alvord Unified School Districts, opera singers Raejin Lee and Dominic Salvati, and of course our AMAZING Riverside Arts Academy students. We will be sending messages of love to our community throughout the night!

This is our dream, and the City’s dream, to bring the entire community together and collectively share the talent Riverside has under one roof!
Who would have known that 10 years after our rescue we would have been given $25,0000 to renovate the Cesar Chavez Community Center into a state-of-the-art Arts Academy? Thank you Assembly Members Jose Medina and Sabrina Cervantes. A special thanks to our former Music Directors, Alpin Hong and Dr. Gene Moon, guidance from Annemarie Guzy, and now Dr. Nové Deypalan, for leading us on this path of excellence with the complete support of our incredible Board Members:

  • Collette Lee
  • Annemarie Guzy
  • Freya Foley
  • Lauren Lee Sawyer
  • Art Alcaraz
  • Kathleen Barth
  • Ellie Bennett
  • Richard Cardullo
  • Stephen Crane
  • Angela Gallardo-Hopkins
  • Alton L. Garrett Jr.
  • Larry Gonzalez
  • Ken Gutierrez
  • Kathleen Hartman
  • La Wayne Hearn
  • Erin Kirk 
  • Sharron Lewis-Campbell
  • Miguel Lujano
  • Andy Melendrez
  • Stephen Posegate
  • Charles Richard
  • Beth Schwandt
  • Wendel W. Tucker

Let’s give a round of applause for our City of Love!

Collette Lee
Founding President
Riverside Arts Academy