Dear community,

Your support is the heart and soul of the Riverside Arts Academy organization. It’s what truly keeps our hearts pumping and blood flowing, so we can keep our program alive and thriving at the highest level for the children of Riverside.

The Riverside Arts Academy, in collaboration with the City of Riverside and Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes, is pleased to announce that we have been allocated $25 million dollars to renovate the Cesar Chavez Community Center, through the efforts of Assemblymembers Jose Medina and Sabrina Cervantes. They have become our Guardian Art Angels!

Words can’t express our excitement as we start the process of planning the approach and timeline of the renovation with the city and experts. Our goal is to build a modern, technology-driven Riverside Arts Academy that will serve our children and bring our families together for years to come. Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes shares our excitement because her heart truly lies with the arts. This renovation will transform the Eastside Neighborhood.

When I reflect upon the conversation I had with Assemblymember Medina in October 2019, I can’t help but smile. He asked, “What can I do to help RAA?” and I responded, “I don’t know, let me think about it, we have so many needs!” Then COVID hit, and I thought about the greatest need: the need to completely renovate the Cesar Chavez Community Center to suit the needs of our organization and to serve our community through music and the arts. It was a HUGE request, but by the grace of God, our newest Guardian Art Angels, Assemblymembers Medina and Cervantes, have made it a reality! They both care and give at a high level to our community. The impact of this gift from the state will have a lasting impact on our community’s future and our most precious commodity, our children.

A GIANT thank you to the Cesar Chavez Community Center Renovation Committee: Wendel Tucker, Annemarie Guzy, Ken Gutierrez, and Scott Bauer, Ph.d. They were rock stars; attending meetings, having many discussions and planning sessions, and investigating our needs for this huge undertaking. I’d also like to thank Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, Jovan Fontenot, Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes, Raul, Kris Martinez, Pamela Galera, Adolfo Cruz, Carl Carey, Al Zelinka, and Miguel Lujano at the city who were present or involved in the meetings and helped with casting vision, calculating basic figures, and writing letters of support. A shout out to our amazing staff who work so hard to deliver this program to our children of Riverside: Dr. Nové Deypalan, Luke Hilland, Leti Bernard, and Molly Brooke Becker!

We could not do this without all of us coming together. Now the work begins to create a technology-driven center for the arts!

I now call upon all of you for your support as we begin this painstaking process of maintaining our high-level programming during our transition from a facility in need, to a facility that will breed creativity and academic success, all while building community at the highest level possible. The road won’t be easy, but I know we can all work together as we have for the past decade, for the good of the children and our city! The Cesar Chavez Community Center Renovation Committee and the City of Riverside have their jobs cut out for them! They will need your support as we start the next steps!

We will celebrate and thank our newest Art Angels at the upcoming City of Love Art of Giving Gala at the Fox Performing Arts Center on Friday, October 21. Now, more than ever, we need your voice and support to truly change the lives of our under-resourced children and transform the Eastside.

A special shout out to our education partners, Riverside Unified School District, Alvord Unified School District, Cal Baptist University, Riverside City College, La Sierra University, UC Riverside, and Cal State University San Bernardino, who have helped mold us into an academy of excellence. It’s been 10 years of volunteering at a very high level to make a difference

So proud to be your President!

Changing lives through music and community collaboration!

President, Riverside Arts Academy