Center ARTES Partners with San Diego Unified School District on Major initiative: Learning Through the Arts  

SDUSD Initiative

Center ARTES in partnership with SDUSD is providing guidance and Professional development for teachers in arts integration.  The project is funded by Title I and seeks to support student academic achievement, student engagement, school climate, and parent involvement, with and through the arts. For more information visit:

Center ARTES partners with Fortissimo

Center ARTES partners with Fortissimo

San Marcos Unified School District and Kid’s College launched an Orchestra Program in January 2015, Fortissimo Orchestra Music Program began at Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School. This program is modeled after the hugely successful and transformative program started over 35 years ago in Caracas, Venezuela, called El Sistema. Center ARTES was instrumental in the launch is is assisting in the evaluation of the program.  For more information see this website:

World Renowned Guitarist Brings Music to Schools

Pablo Sáinz Villegas

Thanks to the hard work of arts officials and educators in North County, hundreds of children throughout San Diego experienced live classical music from an internationally acclaimed Spanish guitarist, Pablo Sáinz Villegas this past January.
A  world-renowned musician with more than 30 awards to his name, Sáinz Villegas visited the High Tech Middle and High School yesterday in San Marcos, and King Chavez Arts Academy in San Diego following his sold-out performance at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

“Kids don’t really have all that many opportunities to have professional artists visit their schools, so it’s a tremendous gift when artists and art centers make the availability,” said Merryl Goldberg, arts department chairwoman at Cal State San Marcos, who arranged the visits.

During his hour-long sessions, Sáinz Villegas dazzled students on his guitar with brief lessons in harmony, rhythm and melody, also sampling flamenco and tango. Sáinz Villegas, who began playing guitar at age 6, yet only became a professional artist six years ago also shared with students the lessons he’s learned along his journey.

 “How many years was I practicing before I became a professional? 23 years,” he said, describing years studying in Madrid, Germany and New York City. “Little by little, my dream was coming alive. It wasn’t easy.”

Speaking to schools isn’t unusual for Sáinz Villegas. Early in his career, he knew he wanted to share his love of classical music with children. In 2007, he founded “The Music Without Borders Legacy,” an outreach program, with the San Diego-based International Community Foundation and the Foundation for the Protection of Children in Tijuana. The project has brought classical music to more than 10,000 children and funds music programs in Tijuana.

For Sáinz Villegas, inspiring children his goal during his school visits. Hoping to not  only bring them classical music, Sáinz Villegas, says “It’s important for me to transmit values of my life, experiences … to share this experience and let them realize they can achieve anything in life … if they make the right decisions.”

Q&A With Sara Pennypacker Feature Article:

Sara Pennypacker

Award-winning, author, Sara Pennypacker of the  New York Times bestselling children’s Clementine,  may write books for the younger set, but the overwhelming popularity of her books might have something to do with her universally infectious love of narrative and the power of story.
Pennypacker, who is currently finishing her seventh and final book in the series that centers on the life and lessons of eight year old Clementine and her quirky but loving family, recently visited San Diego to share with students her passion for integrating the arts into literature.
Upon invitation from Center Artes, Pennypacker , who travels widely to speak on literacy, spent time with students advocating the importance of reading and writing. Pennypacker, is not only a beloved author but  is also the founder of the a community outreach program which lends books provided by authors to communities. Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Pennypacker is currently based in Florida.

What is your writing background?

 I was a painter for a long time and I loved that but after a while I came to understand that I had always been the person that was writing. From the very beginning I knew it was the right fit. I never had a question that I would be able to get a book published, it was a funny thing. And now?  I can’t believe it myself but I’m in my 20th year of writing!
What was the catalyst for advocating engaging in reading and writing to students? 

As an author you really want to involve as many people as can be.

When you’re writing a book you’re starting a conversation and you never really know where it is or where it will go. The more I write the more I understand what children’s books bring to children and what the opportunity is to communicate, and it takes my breath away. When I go into a school I usually feel like I never have enough time, there is so much I want to talk and ask them about but there are lots of things that we  could have a conversation about, so I try and listen.

As an author what central message do you wish to communicate?
The world is shifting and as a writer, you have to go for a bigger goal so I hope to show that story is not just an entertainment form, it’s actually how we learn to view our own life and journey.
Stories reflect and show how things can be, that there is another way. For example, within school systems, I saw that books were not reflecting what the reality actually was, that there are teachers out there doing a really good job and helping out kids. It seemed to me that the books I was finding in that series leaned towards drama and dysfunction. Likewise, now especially, within books on families, there is a lot of dystopia I didn’t see anyone who was writing about families who were supportive, successful and doing a good job.
So, especially within the Clementine series, I wanted to present a celebration!

What can your readers look forward to next?

Well from now until April I’m racing for the finish with the final seventh book in the Clementine series. I only have about 3,000 words to write but I don’t really want it to end, it’s been a joy to write about the family of Clementine! After that, I’m really hoping I don’t get any more ideas because I’m fully booked for the next four years with new work!

For more information visit

Groundbreaking Results Released

Integrating Art Methods is Improving Literacy

California State University San Marcos, in collaboration with the North County Professional Development Federation, the San Diego County Office of Education and 10 North San Diego County school districts, held a press conference on Thursday, February 9th to announce the groundbreaking results from DREAM (Developing Reading Education with Arts Methods), a four-year arts integration program funded with a nearly $1-million grant through the United States Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement.

CSUSM's President Haynes and Dr. Merryl Goldberg announced that elementary student test scores in reading improved an astonishing  87 points as a result of DREAM's initiatives.  The program's goal was to train 3rd and 4th grade teachers to use visual arts and theater activites to improve students' reading and language arts skills.  Begun in June 2009, the program offered one week Summer Institutes coupled with coaching by professional artists throughout the year.  Ten school districts have had teachers participate in the project, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, Julian, Oceanside, Ramona, San Marcos, Valley Center-Pauma and Vista, representing 141 teachers and approximately 3,000 students.

For more on these exciting results, please see the following news items:


San Diego Union-Tribune  

North County Times  

Center ARTES receives a National Endowment for the Arts grant for TELL! Theater for English Language Learners:

See the article in the North County Times

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Welcome to Center ARTES

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Artists, Arts Lovers, and Educators, we're with you...
we know first-hand the power of the arts to improve the lives and education of our children. Whether it be in the ways that music and rhythm can help teach difficult math concepts, dance can teach anatomy and physiology, drama can teach history or politics, or writing poetry can boost confidence and competence in self-expression, the arts repeatedly demonstrate invaluable benefits in a child's education. We have seen student learning improve across the curriculum, marginalized students get connected, and attendance soar on days featuring the arts and art activities.

We take as our mission to teach with and through the arts, rather than focusing exclusively on teaching about the arts. Capitalizing on this rapidly developing and expanding field, and pioneering the field along the way, we create and implement diverse arts education programming, documenting tangible results. Through our long term partnerships with schools, districts, artists, and arts education institutions, we connect educators with the tools, resources, and personnel to seamlessly integrate the arts into their classrooms and programs, exposing students to a rich, diverse arts education and improving student learning across the curriculum.

Whether you are an educator, artist, parent, student, or concerned community member, we encourage you to think of this website as a resource and a means to connect with like minded individuals. Center ARTES is committed to remaining on the leading edge of arts education research, development, and practice, and to sharing the fruits of our labor with you.

"Arts Education - It's the Law. Ask for More"

Phone: (760) 750-4431

Center ARTES logo, Puddles the dog drawing the phrase
ARTES has participated in the following events this year:

(May 2015) The Evolving Role for Teaching Artists in Professional Development of teachers, Kickstart the Arts in (y)Our Schools, San Diego, CA.

(March, 2015) “Informance” for National School Boards Association, Nashville, TN.

(March, 2015) Using Arts in Teacher Education, Southeastern Theater Conference, Chattanooga, TN

(February 2015) Transforming Education through Arts Integration. National Title I Conference, Salt Lake City Utah.

(February 2015) Transforming Education through Arts Integration. National Title I Conference, Salt Lake City Utah.

(January, 2015) CREATE California, Facilitator sessions on Arts Integration, Oakland, CA.

(November 2014). Unlocking Title I Funds for Arts Education. 2014 Community Arts Education Conference (National Guild for Community Arts Education). Los Angeles, CA.

(October, 2014). Keynote: “Arts Ain’t Fluff: Releasing the Imagination and Awakening the Core” for California Council of teacher Education statewide conference, San Diego, CA

(October, 2014).  Art as Text and the “Informance.” San Diego Mega-arts conference, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA.

(August, 2014). Art as Text Workshops for Vista Unified School District Buy-back day, Vista, CA.

(July 2014). Professional Development Workshops for teachers in Mumbai, India:  AVM Institutions and ideas Box


Bring the Mobile Arts Van program to your class!  Your school can have Center ARTES'  Arts Van come to your school (free of charge) and have an artist do theater activities with several classes....or have our musician come for 4 sessions and create a musical performance with your kids (and for parents!).  Contact us at Center ARTES for more information and scheduling: 

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