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Developing Young Artists | Re-Imagining the World


East Bay Center for the Performing Arts engages youth and young adults in imagining and creating new worlds for themselves and new visions for their communities through the inspiration and discipline of rigorous training in world performance traditions.

Since 1968

Young artists have been discovering how training in the arts can and does illuminate their fullest capacity as human beings while at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, in a neighborhood known as the Iron Triangle and distinguished primarily for its chronic poverty and violence.

For over 50 years, in the heart of Richmond, California, more than 50,000 student artists – from all walks of life – have shared a home where they have found within themselves the means to develop skills that enable them to think, lead, and contribute to the world around them.

East Bay Center for the Performing Arts is a surprising place of discovery. Here our student artists— through the breadth, depth, and passion of experiencing classical master works and cutting-edge art forms from around the world—come to know the world’s great performance traditions, the beauty of one’s neighbor, a calling in life, and the life of the mind, in addition to the spark of young imagination.

Through the active creation of original music, theater, dance, and media-making, coupled with self-determined community projects, we emphasize the cause of social justice, the hard work needed to prepare, the skills to create, and the courage to perform. Over the next 50 years, we plan to reach 75,000 more youth to carry on this work of discovery.

We invite you to join us as a student or supporter or both!

music teacher with student

Program Overview

The Center functions much like a living organism existing within the local ecosystems of greater Richmond. Locally, the Center’s reach is fairly broad, touching thousands of pre-K through high school students in the greater Richmond area through in-school and after-school programs. These programs feed into more intensive offerings through classes and lessons at our permanent 11th Street home.

Those instructional programs develop transformational young leaders and produce work telling Richmond’s story from a community and youth/young adult perspective. At the Center’s core, our Young Artist Diploma Program – with attendant resident ensembles – provides training and development to a group of passionately committed middle and high school students – many of whom participate in the production projects that link us back to the broader community and specific constituencies within the whole.

What We Do

We offer diverse youth and young adults opportunities to grow and excel as learners, creators of art, and contributors to their communities. We provide broad and strategic community-based and public school performing arts access programs; rigorous individual and ensemble training; an intensive six-year, interdisciplinary diploma program; advanced internships; and commissions for new works of art. Our students, partners, and audiences deepen their experience and engagement with the life-affirming and community-building impact of music, theater, dance, and media-making from a critical selection of the world's great cultures.

Meet the Faculty
teenage kids dancing on stage
students and teacher on stage

What We Believe

We, at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, passionately believe in the power of art to create beauty and new ways of seeing the world. We believe in the ability of the performing arts to give voice to the silent, to unite peoples of diverse backgrounds, and to help realize the fullest potential of communities and the individuals who live in them. We affirm the importance of connecting the creative and uplifting powers of the arts with children and youth who in their daily lives must contend with systemic poverty, violence, and other barriers to peace, justice, and prosperity. We welcome all who find resonance with and are committed to these beliefs.

The Future We See

We envision new generations of artist-leaders trained at the Center who are articulate, passionate, and effective at integrating art and positive social change. These young artists will be recognized for their unique perspective, creativity, and leadership, and they will be sought after by colleges, universities, and employers, including distinguished performance ensembles and production companies locally, nationally, and internationally. We see many of these young artists staying committed to Richmond, the Center, and giving back to their community. We see our model of artistic training and programming, as well as our commitment to investing in the human potential of Richmond, inspiring others to engage in diverse artistic explorations and to mine the riches of their own communities. We see the Center, invigorated by its new building and resources, emerging as a cultural and civic hub and being recognized by a wider public for its contribution to a new and vibrant neighborhood atmosphere with thriving residents, businesses, and organizations that will spur a civic and economic revitalization of downtown Richmond.

See Our Alumni
3 teenage girls in African dress