By Emily G. Peters
Six years ago, a cadre of like-minded artists and educators saw the need to bring a fresh take on fine arts to youth in the San Gabriel Valley. Instead of teaching techniques that churned out cookie-cutter crafts, these professionals desired to use arts education as a means to nurture creativity and curiosity among their young artists. With this mission in mind, Arcadia’s Creative World Art Center was born.
The founding artists were Rosie Saenz, Debbie Lennon, Zac Monday and Renee Yang, each bringing a deep arts background to the development of Creative World’s programs. Lennon taught elementary school with the L.A. Unified School District for over 35 years, while Saenz worked at the CAFAM Museum, teaching visual arts as an independent instructor, Yang built her expertise in youth arts education as an assistant manager for a children’s art studio, and Monday honed his skills as an educator offering classes in sculpture, drawing and performance to undergraduates at UCSD, as well as craft courses to fourth through sixth graders at Hollywood’s Academy of Creative Education. Together, their initial offerings focused on weekly art workshops for youth ages five to 18, but feedback from the community soon led them to introduce seasonal day camps and after-school enrichment programs.
Creative World’s philosophy goes far beyond art basics. “The Center employs the arts as a means for building a rich understanding of subjects such as science, anthropology and writing.” said Cerrina Tayag-Rivera, team member at Creative World. “Arts integration helps students understand how each subject can enrich each other, and that empowers them in their learning.” This approach allows students to strengthen their academic mastery through artistic exploration, combining art with everything from mathematics to choreography, puppetry to design.
At its heart, Creative World’s programs function as a surety against the disappearance of arts access for local youth. As the only arts nonprofit in Arcadia, they actively seek ways to establish reduced-cost/free arts programs, youth scholarships and partnerships with local schools. “Currently, there are no formal art programs at any of the six Arcadia public elementary schools.” said Tayag-Rivera. “Monrovia, El Monte and Duarte also lack formal arts education—leaving thousands of students without a vital part of their education, which, according to the National Endowment of the Arts, helps students achieve better academic results, workforce opportunities and increases civic engagement.”
To combat this deficiency, Creative World’s latest initiative, Art Bridge, provides arts access during school hours at youth centers, charter schools and public schools, all at no cost to the student. Free portfolio day (Jan. 14, 2017) invites high school students to bring their artwork and learn the best way to build a winning portfolio for art school applications. Their annual fundraiser, Create the Future, involves local businesses, volunteers and nonprofits to help fund facility improvements, workshops and scholarships for low-income households. They also open their facilities for food drives, event fundraisers, rentals, gallery exhibits and more, all in an effort to establish themselves as the go-to artistic hub for the community.
Whether you’re artistically-inclined or artistically-challenged, Creative World Art Center’s programs are available to anyone in need of a creative outlet. Their studio is located at 524 S. First Ave. in Arcadia. Contact the studio at (626) 445-6005 | email@example.com and find them on Facebook and Twitter @CW_ArtCenter.
Learn More About the Studio’s Services: Creative Art Center