The arts are alive and well in Orcutt, thanks to a special non-profit. Founded in 2002 when the arts were being cut from public school budgets, the Orcutt Children's Arts Foundation had a mission to put the arts back into the Orcutt Union School District.
"We recognized that every child learns differently and the arts are so important to instill that creativity and give children an outlet. And if you look at it community wide, the arts really bring people together." Said Executive Director Ali Bailey.
Fifteen years and a half a million dollars later, they are accomplishing their mission through fundraising, events, grants and community support.
"Just the creativity and the spark in their eye. Sometimes you have kids where that's the only avenue to reach them and just give them the opportunity to shine." Said Bailey.
Mia Poe is one of the students benefiting from the Orcutt Children's Arts Foundation's efforts. She attended the foundation's Spring Break Musical and Fine Arts Camp where kids learn what it takes to make a Broadway musical come alive.
"I love trying to play out scenes that I would never play out in real life, like playing the villain or flying or winning the lottery," Poe said. "A lot of teamwork and social bonding and skills and making friends and a lot of working together."
Damian Ferrel doesn't like to be on stage, so he was one of the "ninja's" at camp, doing the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of a musical.
"We do the props and the lighting." Damian said. "it's very fun you just have to time it right, so you have to have the script studied because you have to time it right with the props."
These students are just a few examples of how having the arts available in school helps them flourish. And good news for the district, there's more to come.
The Orcutt Children's Arts Foundation currently has an aggressive four-year plan to bring more arts into the schools, from music, to dance, to drama.
They've also secured a grant to get new smart furniture in the fine arts room at Orcutt Academy High School, which will allow it to be used in a variety of ways.
"I think we've made a huge impact and there's room for more in the Orcutt and Los Alamos community," Bailey said.
For more information, visit www.orcuttarts.com.