Our community spirit is best exemplified by First Night ArtWorks!, our year-round arts outreach program culminating on New Year's Eve. We've engaged hundreds of young people and families who participated with professional artists in hands-on creative workshops in the visual, performing and multimedia arts at community sites all around the county.
Our 2015/2016 theme " Art is the Next Peace | Connecting Communities" Posts for Peace and Justice featured outreach projects using art to promote non-violent resolutions to problems, such as gangs, bullying, and domestic violence, with a goal of connecting communities and building positive healthy attitudes. FNM presented the artwork completed this past year by youth and community members within this project at our annual New Year's Eve festival.
First Night Monterey established this center in 2014 and we have been busy with the community to create an inclusive arts center for participation in the visual and performing arts. Classes and workshops include: drawing and painting classes for youth, art camps, art exhibitions, dance classes in line dancing, Folklorico, Flamenco, Salsa, Aztec. Local groups also presented traditional Oaxacan dance and drumming classes, as well as sewing projects creating dance costumes. Visit the GCAC website.
Ramon Hernandez formed Azomali Aztec Dance group in 2009. The group started with Ramon's family members; today the group has 30 dancers. Ramon is teaching the dance classes at the GCAC Tuesday and Thursday evenings; classes are open to the public.
The Union Indigena Group was formed with the Triqui indigenous communities from the Mexican state of Oaxaca living in Greenfield. They formed their group in 2005 to pass on their cultural, language and family values to the next generations. Presently they have meetings with dance, language and drumming at the GCAC on Fridays and Saturdays every other week. Meetings are open to the general public - must be willing to learn their native language.
Arcoiris Cultural dance team was formed to reach out to the Greenfield community with the help of the Arts Council for Monterey County and First Night Monterey. Pilar Mendoza teaches folk, line and flamenco dancing for children The dance group has their practice at GCAC Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Free art camps for Middle School students. Activities included digital art, drawing, watercolor and painting using traditional mural techniques. Read more below.
First Night Monterey artists conducted eight weeks of free art camp for Middle School students, held at the GCAC. Activities included digital art, drawing, watercolor and painting using traditional mural techniques. Young artists designed and painted street banners for display on El Camino Real in downtown Greenfield.
Exhibits: Art Show and reception at Greenfield Cultural Arts Center, Greenfield Harvest Festival 2015, First Night Monterey 2016
This year’s theme Art Connecting Communities was creatively manifested in visual workshops sponsored by First NIght Monterey to create art in several cities throughout the county. Fence posts have a history of separating neighborhoods, but in this case we created posts to connect with each other! Hundreds have collaboratively painted and written on 8-foot fence posts telling stories through words and symbolic images. Created in schools and with community organizations, with youth and young adults, these posts are beautiful collaborative artworks presenting peace and justice issues the participants deeply care about. Posts were exhibited at First Night Monterey 2016. Themes and collaborating groups were:
A year-round workshop meeting twice a month at the First Night Monterey art studio with community members of this Monterey County agency providing services and affordable housing to adult living with mental illness. Working on personal art projects with First Night artists, the group focused on drawing, painting and sculpting. They created a post for peace and justice, exploring their personal challenges with stigma.
We engage the students into a creative competition to design the annual First Night Monterey Poster and Buttons. FNM artists work with the design students in Service Learning from theme concept to design for five weeks in class to selection of the final poster design.
Held on October 18th with over 5,000 attending, this free community arts festival produced by First Night Monterey and sponsoring organizations, celebrates the harvest and farming community. Activities included a community parade, 6 bands, 7 dance troupes, interactive art activities, pony rides, a petting zoo, a pumpkin patch and 55 vendors showcasing the many cultures and arts of Monterey County.
First Night ArtWorks! introduced a fee-based Summer Art Day Camp at the Archer Park Community Center in 2010, and followed up with a Fall Break Art Camp, where drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, puppetry, mixed media, printmaking and performance art happened! FNM Staff are professional artists and teachers and our goal is to nurture creativity and enhance art skills in a non-competitive, safe, fun environment. Each Friday we have a performance or gallery exhibit of the work completed during the past week.
Read More about this year's Summer Art Day Camp for youth.
FNM’s Art Works! presents free year-round arts workshops to introduce the visual and performing arts to children and adults throughout Monterey County and makes their works an integral part of the region’s largest New Year’s arts celebration. These workshops encourage an active involvement in and love of the arts. Young people and their families participate in hands-on workshops conducted by artists/educators in the months leading up to First Night. Often, these workshops offer important enrichment programs for community organizations with whom we partner to offer the workshops. The creative workshops culminate in exhibits and/or performances that become part of the First Night Celebration and are exhibited in other public venues throughout the region, such as the Monterey Peninsula Airport Gallery, Sunset Center, The National Steinbeck Center and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco. These exhibits give voice to the viewpoints and philosophies of all our residents and illuminate the commonality of our world views.
Collaboration is woven into our philosophy of engaging both the artistic community and the greater community, bringing them together to enrich lives and promote understanding. We collaborate with approximately 50 artists, more than 20 schools and community and arts organizations, and hundreds of volunteers in order to be able to present our workshops and the Celebration. We collaborate with business partners such as MST to provide free transportation and with Del Monte Shopping Center to offer free parking and shuttles to our audience on December 31st, and with CSU Monterey Bay for design work for each year’s fresh new look. We also rely on many sponsors and donors in our community to be able to present these workshops and the celebration year after year.
We are especially grateful to all of the donors and sponsors who so generously contributed to our success:
Arts Council for Monterey County The California Arts Council, James Irvine Foundation, Target Stores, WESTAF, National Endowment for the Arts, Nancy Buck Ransom Foundation, Harden Foundation, Monterey Peninsula Foundation- AT&T Charities, The Robert and Virginia Stanton Endowment, Community Foundation for Monterey County, Pebble Beach Foundation, First Five Monterey County, Driscoll's Berries
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