EPACENTER Breaks Ground
A crowd of more than 125 people gathered on a bright, sun-filled day to celebrate the groundbreaking for the EPACENTER ARTS facility in East Palo Alto on Saturday, October 13. The crowd included long-time East Palo Alto Residents, kids and City of East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica, Vice-Mayor Lisa Gauthier and Council Members Larry Moody, Carlos Romero and Donna Rutherford, as well as Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and internationally-renowned architect Kulapat Yantrasast.
Design plans for the 25,000 square-foot structure include classrooms, artist studios, presentation galleries, a theater, professional-grade recording facilities, a café, and other flexible-use community spaces, with an emphasis on visual, performing, and digital arts taught by practicing artists and professionals in the field. Special events will include theater productions, community festivals, open-mic performances, recitals, films screening, and guest artist performances, among other events.
“Standing here on this special day, I am proud to say. Believe it. EPACENTER is a reality,” said speaker Jules Thomas, an EPACENTER student and Advisory Council Member. “Here at EPACENTER, students like me will see that they don’t have to scrawl their name on a wall, but that they can paint it on a canvas. They won’t have to drum on a dirty trash can, but on a real drum. They don’t have to play a video game. They can create it.”
Executive Director Nadine Rambeau described the vision for the new center. “Not only will EPACENTER ARTS add to the success of this city’s young people by nurturing their talents, their creative tenacity and their ability to build prosperity. It will also be a vital gathering place for our community where artists, designers and innovators—from near and far away—can come together, explore and create what’s new.”
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo noted how the arts are uniquely important to society. “No two people will make the same artwork. The arts help us express our individual humanity.”
After reflecting on the hard work of East Palo activists and community members that culminated in the city’s incorporation 35 years ago, Mayor Ruben Abrica said, “The EPACENTER ARTS project will greatly enhance the diverse and vibrant cultural voices of our youth.”
Executive Director Rambeau concurred and said, “EPACENTER will be a place that promotes growth, benefits the people and sustains our city’s intellectual and physical environment. And, most importantly, it will be a place where the talented artists of this city can nurture the next generation and the community that they call home.”