Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Seaside students show support for multicultural arts center

Art students at Seaside High School participate in their ninth annual chalk art competition
on campus in 2015. (Vern Fisher -- Monterey Herald)

In deciding whether to pursue a multicultural arts center in Seaside, Juan L. Sanchez of the new organization Palenke Arts surveyed 144 Seaside High School music and art students last June to gauge their interest in the idea.

The five-question survey -- part multiple choice, part free response -- found that nearly all of them were in favor of it. Forty-two percent said they would use it often, 36 percent said on occasion and 16 percent said they would use the center every day.

"Based on our survey, a center for the arts in Seaside is something which is not only needed in order to further develop our youth's artistic talents, but is also something which many students would openly embrace," according to a survey analysis. "Opening a multicultural arts center in a town full of young individuals seeking outlets to express their creativity would be extremely beneficial to the community."

In their free responses, students wrote about why they would welcome such a center.

"This is an amazing idea," wrote one. "Not only does it bring Seaside's performing arts community together, it also provides a place for people to go who lack the resources."

"It's a great idea because it will motivate kids, young and older, to express themselves with art and to give them something else to value in life," wrote another.

In an interview with The Herald, Sanchez said his takeaway was that students "know what they have and what they don't," emphasizing that the center would reflect Seaside's cultural as well as socioeconomic diversity.

One of the students said the center would be good because they wouldn't have to give concerts in the gym anymore, where acoustics are terrible. Sanchez said he'd like to see a center that's something akin to Carmel High School's Performing Arts Center, if not as grand -- "nice enough that it's an upgrade from what kids are performing in these days."

The project is in its very beginning stages. A festival introducing the community to the idea and Palenke Arts is this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. at Laguna Grande Park.

You can read the full survey analysis here.

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