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Carpenter Center Announces “Arts For Life” Education Program

Published: September 16, 2013

Carpenter Center executive director Michele Roberge (r) and education coordinator Amanda Meek discuss Arts for Life program.

The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at CSULB has unveiled its new Arts for Life program—a comprehensive education program that will provide free or low-cost arts activities for all ages.

The program kicks off with a weekend of music at the Carpenter Center with insideOUT: LA Phil celebrates Walt Disney Concert Hall’s 10th anniversary with a free neighborhood concert. Making its Carpenter Center debut, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic story “Peter and the Wolf,” conducted by Rafael Payere and narrated by the legendary Julie Andrews on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 11 a.m.

The concert also will feature special guest The Jazz Angels—a local performance group comprised of children and professional musicians from the Long Beach area.

The inaugural weekend continues on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. with Symphonic Jazz Orchestra conducted by Mitch Glickman, featuring the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Both weekend events are free to the public.

Arts for Life allows the Carpenter Center the opportunity to engage everyone in the Greater Long Beach community with the arts, and make the fun and excitement of the performing arts accessible to all,” said Carpenter Center Executive Director Michele Roberge. “The performances and activities are intended to complement the national and international performing artists presented on the theatre’s stage each season.”

The 2013-14 Arts for Life program includes collaboration with CSULB’s School of Art to present contemporary art writer and commentator Garth Clark as he explores the ceramic art of Chinese activist Ai Weiwei in a public lecture, “Mind Mud: The Conceptual Ceramics of Ai Weiwei,” on Sunday, Oct. 6.

The program also will partner with Community Cinema—a national civic engagement initiative featuring free screenings of films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. The free film series begins on Tuesday, Oct. 22, with “The Graduates/Los Graduados”— a film that explores pressing issues in education today through the eyes of six young Latino and Latina students from across the United States.

Arts for Life invites the campus and community to read every play Shakespeare written, out loud in a reading circle. One Saturday each month, the program will offer “Shakespeare Aloud”—a free reading of Shakespeare’s 37 plays, one per month until the entire canon is complete. Attendees can participate as readers—no experience or audition required—or as audience members.

“Shakespeare Aloud” will be hosted in CSULB’s Department of Theatre Arts, beginning on Oct. 26, with the lively, fast-moving romp, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.”

In a celebration of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 11, Arts for Life will present an afternoon exploring the role of mothers in our lives. The afternoon kicks off with the documentary theatre piece, “Questions for My Mother,” created by Long Beach high school sophomores and juniors that are taking part in Sparking Curiosity, a 12-week workshop led by CSULB’s Theatre Arts faculty Andrea Caban.

The documentary will be followed by a tour-de-force performance by Caban in the moving and funny one-woman show, “Questions My Mother Can’t Answer,” as she portrays eight “women- of-a-certain-age” looking for guidance from a variety of female role models.

In addition, the Carpenter Center’s successful ongoing education program “Classroom Connections” will be a part of Arts for Life. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, “Classroom Connections” goes beyond exposing students to performing arts—it brings professional performing artists into local elementary classrooms to introduce the process of making their art, and then welcomes the students into the theatre to see their finished product, a full performance.

Artists that will be included in this season’s “Classroom Connections” include the RhetOracle Dance Company, ArcAttack and the Annie Moses Band—who will also include a free concert to the public on Friday, Mar. 14, on the Carpenter Family Terrace.

Arts for Life is generously funded by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, the Kenneth C. Wang Family Foundation, Arts Council for Long Beach, the Long Beach Rotary Charitable Foundation, Target stores and individual donors.

All events are free except Mind Mud: The Conceptual Ceramics of Ai Weiwei—which is free for CSULB students, $5 for non-CSULB students and $10 for the general public.

For complimentary general admission tickets, activity location information or more details on Arts for Life, contact the Carpenter Center Ticket Office at 562/985-7000 or visit online at

–Francisco Juanillo