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Youths in Oxnard are set to benefit from a new large cash grant

Taylor Heery
The Oxnard Performing Arts Center was awarded $152,000 in arts programming support from the California Arts Council

It’s a significant boost to the future of the arts on the South Coast.

The Oxnard Performing Arts Center was awarded $152,000 in arts programming support from the California Arts Council.

"We are the only organization in Ventura County to have gotten these three grants and this is a game changer for us," OPAC Executive Director Carolyn Merino Mullin told KCLU.

She says the money will provide much needed support to the arts in the area.

"We are going to be able to take arts into the schools. We're gonna be able to bring performing artist from outside of our community and enrich the lives of our young people," said Mullin.

"I'm very excited about our last grant which is going to be a creative workforce development program. We are going to teach audio engineering to the youth of our community," she said.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to grow OPAC’s programming and community connections,” said Merino Mullin. “We’re excited to work more closely with local schools, engage students, provide meaningful employment to working artists, and strengthen our field through creative career exploration.”

The three programs are:

Artist-in-the-Schools — A two-year pilot program at Oxnard Union High Schools, providing arts enrichment to introductory visual art students. Esteemed visual artists across a variety of artistic disciplines will participate in 10-week residencies.

Arts Exposure — Two seasons of multilingual, high-quality dance and music performances, residencies and engagement opportunities by professional touring artists for Grades 6-12. In March 2023, students will get to see and learn from Kombilesa Mi, an Afro-Colombian group from San Basilio de Palenque that performs an electrifying fusion of traditional music and urban rap, with lyrics in both their indigenous palenque language and Spanish. 

And Creative Youth Development — Nardcore Academy, an Oxnard-inspired music program teaching youth and young adults the basics of presenting concerts with an emphasis on audio engineering, lighting design and stage management. Graduates will be able to access equipment and host their own concerts at OPAC.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.