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In the June 12 Arts Report, we linked to a story about the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Its leaders asked for a chance to share a response.

It is both a duty and a pleasure to provide an update on the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. It is a duty because it is no secret that the organization has dealt with a number of serious challenges. It is a pleasure because, despite these challenges, it is a new day for the organization. The board and staff stand committed to making it so, which means we must communicate and expand on what has happened and how we are rebuilding.

Our commitment to a stronger center did not start today. What we call our “Turnaround Strategy” actually began 18 months ago. We created it because the organization was struggling. We faced serious financial and operational issues. The community knew it and lost trust. We knew we must face our issues, fix them and find a new future.

The measures we took to remedy the problems were difficult and necessary. Positions were eliminated and programming focused on outside companies and market-driven entertainment. These changes have provided us the resources and time to get our house in order. We knew we must downsize, create new systems and become resourceful with our assets. This was the only way to build the foundation for a strong, outstanding center that wouldn’t just serve our community, but be embraced by it.

The good news is the results have already begun. Our audit is almost complete and, when the figures are available in approximately 90 days, we believe they will speak for themselves.

But this journey is not over. Yet along the way what we can promise is that our commitment to our vision, to extraordinary programs run by an extraordinary organization, is unending. As we continue to repair the issues of our past we also build our future. We are excited about the jazz series in August and the film series in September. We are planning new programming in the Center Theater, beginning with an intimate classical series also in September. We have launched a collaborative program with organizations like the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum and the Girl Scouts glee club, to name a few. We are currently in discussions with the Classical Academy for a two-year rental of studio space.

Most important is our commitment to you. We want to continue to know what is on your mind and in your heart. We have improved communications for greater feedback opportunities and we invite you to engage in this process with us. We are confident in our management team and staff, led by interim CEO Jon Teeuwissen, and our very dedicated group of board members and volunteers. Please join us in the joy of bringing North County inspiring arts programs and events that are treasured for a lifetime. This is your center.

For more info on opportunities please contact us at info@artcenter.org.

Carina Courtright is the board chair at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.


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Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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