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Chula Vista's First Multicultural Performing Arts Center Opens To The Public

Interested students can sample what the center has to offer by purchasing a full week of unlimited classes for $21 during Trial Week (February 22 through 27).

Chula Vista's First Multicultural Performing Arts Center Opens To The Public Maraya Performing Arts is the dream of artist, cancer survivor, and South Bay native, Anjanette Maraya-Ramey, who is no stranger to life's obstacles. With the support of elected officials and community arts leaders, Anjanette is ready to bring that dream to life.

Community leaders, including District 4 Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe, California Arts Councilmember Larry Baza, and Honorary Philippine Consulate Audie de Castro, Esq., will be attending the Grand Re-Opening on Saturday, February 20 from 12pm- 2pm. Due to COVID, the event is only open to a few special guests of the center. COVID safety protocol will be strictly enforced. The public may view the event virtually via Facebook at @marayaperformingarts or Instagram at @marayaarts where guests can interact virtually in real-time and listen to elected officials discuss the impact of the arts industry, take a virtual tour of the new industrial warehouse space, and enjoy live performances of music, spoken word poetry, and dance from some of Maraya's multigenerational artists and teaching staff.

Interested students can sample what the center has to offer by purchasing a full week of unlimited classes for $21 during Trial Week (February 22 through 27). Following Trial Week, offerings include an 8-week spring session for youth and teens (March 1 through April 24) and ongoing drop-in classes and class packages for adults. Limited spots are available and pre-registration is required for all classes. Only 12 spots for youth and teens, and 15 spots for adults, will be available for each respective class. Classes are offered via Zoom, socially distanced indoors, or outdoors. Online registration is now open!

Following her September 2018 leukemia diagnosis, and subsequent battle with 2 years of intense chemotherapy treatments, that will conclude in April of this year, Anjanette knew she needed something more to fight for. She pursued her long-held dream of creating a performing arts center focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in her home of South Bay San Diego. That dream took pause last year, shortly after she signed a 5-year lease on a space in Eastlake in March 2020. When the California shelter-in-place order was issued just weeks later, all plans for tenant improvements were forced to halt. With slow progress on building permits and very little income coming in, Anjanette turned to grant writing and created a GoFundMe campaign in order to keep her small business alive during a 7 month standstill. Construction resumed in October 2020.

The center's luck turned upward through various community events including: a virtual fundraising event with Filipinx-American actor Vincent Rodriguez III of the hit TV series, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and community commissions with arts nonprofits including JACOBS Center, SD Filipino Cinema, PacArts, and the Slants Foundation. An upcoming premiere of Maraya's first dance theater film, "Towards Belonging" is commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse's Digital Without Walls series and is scheduled to be released in the coming months.

La Jolla Playhouse Local Casting Director, Jacole Kitchen shares, "Maraya Performing Arts is the newest gem to grow from the soil of San Diego's South Bay. With an unwavering commitment to equity, inclusion and access in arts education, Maraya Performing Arts celebrates the vast diversity in the community that they serve. This organization will be an asset to not only the students themselves but to the community as a whole, by providing an artistic home and a safe haven for people of all generations to nurture individuality and creativity in a supportive and disciplined environment."

Since July 2020, Maraya Performing Arts has raised approximately $50,000 of their $75,000 GoFundMe goal. For a studio that has yet to open, and in midst of a pandemic, the Maraya team feels that these donations serve as a validating testament that truly speaks to the community's want and appreciation for the arts, and in particular, this arts center.

Proud of her South Bay San Diego roots, and her Filipina-American heritage, Anjanette is overjoyed to bring this artistic resource to an often overlooked area, as most major performing arts schools in San Diego are located near or north of I-8. The center strives to focus on the voices of BIPOC artists and operates with the core value of bayanihan (communal unity in Tagalog). Maraya Performing Arts prides itself in the diversity evident in its leadership team, teaching artists, and advisory board, which proudly reflects the diaspora of all San Diegans. Maraya is also diverse in its multigenerational class offerings, with styles ranging from Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, Hip Hop Fundamentals, Breaking, to Musical Theatre.

Of bayanihan, Anjanette expresses, "Though I come from humble beginnings, I was raised to give more than I receive. I embody the Filipinx custom of bayanihan, meaning community. This tradition is where villagers gather to help a neighbor build and move an entire home (not just the belongings inside) to a new place, despite not having enough for oneself. I hope that we all can embrace bayanihan and gather around our artists, build their spirits, and move the creative community into a new space of racial equity. Now is the time for revolutionary philanthropy and investment in BIPOC artists, who may not be able to survive these times of turmoil and endangerment. Together we can unite in solidarity for many years to come."


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