About Our Community Partner -
Performing Stars of Marin was founded in February 1990 as a means of giving low-income, primarily multicultural, children in Marin County the opportunity to “reach for the stars” through participating in arts and other cultural enrichment programs.
Performing Stars believes that every child wants the chance to be a star and that given positive reinforcement and recognition for achievement, he or she will “act out” and “star” in positive, rather than negative roles. Performing Stars is a social service organization that uses arts and cultural enrichment programs to promote positive life and leadership skills for all of life’s many “performances.”
The mission of Performing Stars is to build pride, character, discipline, and self-esteem in the hearts and lives of low-income, primarily multicultural, children. We achieve our mission through connecting youth and their families with arts, recreation, and other cultural enrichment programs that develop good work habits and positive social skills, enhance analytical thinking, improve communication skills, and increase professional readiness. Personal growth and transformation is also enhanced through involving youth in county-wide experiences beyond their familiar community.
Performing Stars helps young people become productive, positive citizens, and highly skilled individuals capable of “performing” the leadership roles necessary to move the next generation toward success.
Our broad based community impact goals are to:
• Reduce long-term dependence on public assistance programs,
• Decrease the negative effects and impacts of poverty on children,
• Expand advocacy for children of low-income families, and
• Increase and strengthen community services for low-income and minority children and their families.
The relationship between self-esteem, personal independence, and poverty has been well researched and documented. This evidence-based research shows that early involvement in programs that address “root cause” issues can have a major impact on reducing persistent patterns of poverty.
About Our Collaboration -
Performing Stars was brought to our attention at AFH San Francisco by a non-profit group of teenage musicians who dedicate their talents to fundraising for other non-profit organizations around the area. Youth Rock The Rebuild came to AFH with a mission to help Performing Stars update and improve their space, leading to a new re-imagined image, delivering even more children to their dreams of performance. The Rockers decided to host a concert in which they will donate the proceeds to Performing Stars. The Concert will take place on April 21st 2013. Hopefully this seed funding will enable us to deliver a comprehensive design of the community kitchen, dance and music space, practice rooms, garden, and office.
Conversations have begun with founder Felecia Gaston about the scope and desires of the growing organization, with the most ideal outcome leading to a full renovation of the space. Performing Stars is located within one unit of a public housing building which the Marin Housing Authority has donated. However, it has not been updated since their inception in the 90's and has never been comprehensively retrofit for a performance and music practice space. While a graphic designer currently works to re-brand the organization we will begin to conceptualize how to best revitalize the energy of the organization into built form.
In Marin County, the average family income is $89,000 and the cost of living is one of the highest in the United States. Yet there are children who live in low-income communities throughout Marin where the average family income is $18,000, Performing Stars serves these children, ages 3 and up, from areas of Marin County including the Canal District of San Rafael, Shelter Hill in Mill Valley, Hamilton Apartments of Novato, Gates Co-0p Houseboats in Sausalito, and Ridgeway Apartments in Marin City.
When asked about the future of Performing Stars Felecia said that there will be "a Performing Stars Academy of Art, Music & Culture that incorporates Social Skills and Manners programs, and has a vision of Motown of the West Coast, cultivating talent and preparing them for a professional career in the arts, but also just providing opportunities for the youth to become successful and productive citizens."
The Design Challenge -
Within the context of public housing, Felecia and Performing Stars are able to act as a beacon for community action, and the empowerment of children right from within. However the space is in dire need of updating. Some opportunities include reconciling these issues:
• Shortage of storage in every room.
• Applicable lighting
• An out of date kitchen without proper seating
• Finished in poor condition
• Poor sounds quality in dance practice space
• No insulation for music practice rooms - decreasing potential practice hours
• Outdated bathroom in need of repair
• Garden remodel to take advantage of the space and create a welcoming entrance
• Lack of singe
• Dirty outdated carpeting in the second floor
• Lack of proper sound systems
On a side note, it was recently discovered that the housing design where Performing Stars is located was provided by a prodigy of Frank Lloyd Wright named Aaron Green. Mr. Green managed Wright's only California office, This article tells the history of their relationship together.
Performing Stars has an unshakable mission and dedication to the arts, our challenge is to apply that mission to the physical space in order to show the participating children they are truly cared for in every possible way.
This link tells the story of one of the now famous ballet dancers who got his start with help from Felecia and Performing Stars.