Crisálida: Community Arts Project | Building, Building, Building
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Building, Building, Building

06 Mar Building, Building, Building


Building, Building, Building…

I once heard the quote “Change is the only constant thing.”  And that axiom is true in the CV, and for the Crisalida Community Arts Project.  I arrived in the valley on 2/28 and hit the ground running…

Here are the renderings of what our CRISALIDA MOBILE ART VAN will look like.  It has been a lot of work to get it going…the search, the purchase, getting it to CV from LA, getting the paperwork in order, getting it into good mechanical shape, and now we are REALLY close.  The vehicle wrap should be done soon and we hope to have the van debut on the street by the end of next week!i  Big thanks to Shreds Media for all their support.  Check them out here:

Please let us know your ideas of how the CRISALIDA MOBILE ART VAN can be of service in the four communities of the grant; Indio, Coachella, Thermal and Mecca — we look forward to hearing from you!

And away we go…

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DG playing at Coachella Valley Art Center for students from College of the Desert – Indio Campus.

It was a joy to meet the Jacalyn Garcia-Lopez’s students at the Coachella Valley Art Center and to share some music, poetry and stories with them.   We had a hearty conversation about how art functions, about the power of myth, and how we must feed our minds with wisdom and beauty.  Afterwards many of these young men and women came up to ask questions and share their stories.  Check out CVAC at

All smiles with Carlos Garcia and Jacalyn Garcia-Lopez after discussing the formation of the East Valley Repertory Theater Company


The newly-formed East Valley Rep, founded by playwright/director/educator Carlos Garcia, and Jacalyn Garcia-Lopez will focus on staging original work for a cross-cultural audience.  Based at the Coachella Valley Art Center (CVAC) in Indio, East Valley Rep’s mission is to develop and empower actors and writers by providing training, support, and a showcase for culturally, socially and educationally relevant productions.  
East Valley Rep theater company makes its debut on the Coachella Valley arts scene with a reading of Desert Dreams, a new play by writer Laura Araujo Salinas, at Coachella Valley Art Center, 45140 Towne Street, Indio on Friday, March 13 at 7 pm.  Desert Dreams will be presented by East Valley Rep, in collaboration with Coachella Valley Art Center’s W.O.W. (Works of Wonder) Program. Production assistance and refreshments are being provided by the Crisálida Community Arts Project of the McCallum Theatre.  Reservations are required and may be made by calling (760) 501-8215 or e-mailing
Check them out on Facebook: East Valley Rep Happenings
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Crisalida hosted an information session at La Cazuela restaurant in Coachella to discuss our new initiatives and to get community feedback and support.  A hearty conversation was had, as well as some delicious food!


Bill Shinksy, Max Felipe Ochoa, Wendy Valdez, Gina Chapa, Marco Galaviz, Christian Mendez, (seated) Carlos Garcia, Jacalyn Garciz-Lopez, David Gonzalez

The CULTURAS RANCHO at book reading

 It is always a pleasure to visit the CULTURAS MUSIC AND ART folks (Yaya Ortiz, Ruben Gonzalez, Jon Becerra, and all the rest!) at the amazing RANCHO TENOCHITLAN in Coachella.  They hosted a book reading by Aneta Cruz, and art display by Cecelia Cruz that was attended by about 50 people with music, conversation and performance.  I was thrilled to be invited to read a section from Aneta’s book “The Mysterious Mandolin”.  My camera was out of memory, so all I got was this shot from the outside…just trust me, it was a blast.

Stay in touch with Culturas on Facebook: Culturas Music-Arts

And speaking of fun arts happenings…

I received an invitation from Mayra Juarez, the director of the McCarthy Family Child Development Center at COD, to perform for the pre-school kids, many of whose parents are students from the East Valley who use this phenomenal facility while they are in class.  Got to say…I love my job.

ROARing at College of the Desert’s Early Childhood Development Center

The future is staring at us!  (as well as some of the pre-k staff, COD leadership, and McCallum staff!)

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Building, building, building…

Gina Chapa and I spent a fascinating and inspiring afternoon with Joe Mota and Nicole Sanchez from the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition.

The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) is dedicated to helping low and very low-income families improve their living conditions through advocacy, research, construction, and operation of housing and community development projects. CVHC has constructed nearly 4,000 homes and apartments for low-income households. In addition, CVHC has developed a variety of resident services for its tenants and the surrounding community.  Check out their website

We feel that CVHC will be a great partner with Crisalida and have already scheduled community activities.  More will follow, a lot more…

The remarkable Joe Mota and Nicole Sanchez from CVHC standing in front of a community-building project where a group of families are given material and financial support to build their own home…this is the before picture…
Community members performing sweat-equity on their new homes.  Each family is required to give 40 hours per week to their home, up to ten families work cooperatively with the help of CVHC mentors.

What the finished result will be!  CVHC makes the American Dream a reality for its contituents.
Village green at CASA UNO, one of CVHC’s housing projects will be a perfect spot for our Crisalida van to do community outreach.  I will be performing and conducting interviews there next week.
Mural at CASA UNO, a housing project of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition

Whew.  It is hard to compress all the people, places, images, feelings, ideas and points of inspiration into a 2 dimensional cyber-post…I hope you get the gist of the excitement I feel, and the hope of this project.

More soon…

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