by Photo courtesy of Southwestern College

Southwestern College's Performing Arts Department is fundraising to transform the brand-new Performing Arts Center into a cultural hub for the South Bay. 

College officials unveiled a 48,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center in August 2021, located adjacent to the Wellness and Aquatics Complex on the corner of Otay Lakes Road and East H Street. The building houses student activities put together by its theatre, music, and dance programs, as well as community and other public events. 

According to Jeff Nevin, Chair of Performing Arts, Professor of Music, and Director of Mariachi Activities at SWC, Nevin, esteemed groups such as the San Diego Opera, San Diego Ballet, and La Jolla Playhouse have already performed at the Performing Arts Center since its opening. Other members, such as the La Jolla Music Society and Classics 4 Kids have expressed interest in using the space. 

Through this fundraiser, college officials hope to elevate the performances across all performing arts programs, support outstanding performers through scholarships, fund visiting artists to work with students, and give South Bay residents professional performances without having to stray far from their community. 

“I can't tell you how many times a student said to me, "I can't come to rehearsal, I need to work…". With a scholarship to help pay their tuition, we can allow some of our most outstanding student actors, dancers, and musicians to focus on their studies instead of paying the bills,” Nevin said. “If we can have some money to offer scholarships, or a tuition waiver, to some of the most outstanding performing arts students, that can elevate the level of performance we offer to the community.”

According to Nevin, the funds may also “cover technical requirements that will take performances to the next level of professionalism”. With higher quality performances, SWC hopes to attract more esteemed organizations to perform at the Performing Arts Center. 

“To have the opportunity to see some of the best artists in the world perform in our venue is incredibly inspiring to our students. We are hoping to really flelsh out these partnerships,” Nevin said. 

Through these partnerships, organizations not only use the Performing Arts Center, but they provide free tickets for students to attend performances. Nevin said these organizations are considered sponsors of the building. 

“This isn’t about raising more money so that we have more money. It is about raising money so we can have a better and more professional experience for the community. We really want to use the funds for our programs, and invite these groups so that people in South Bay can experience professional performances," Nevin said. "The experience of going into a concert hall should feel a certain way, and we want to community to have that experience when it comes.”

The fundraiser for the Performing Arts Department has received more than $15,000 in donations, according to Nevin. Those interested in making a donation may visit SWC’s “Support the Performing Arts” webpage for more information. 

The college is also looking for larger donations for naming rights of the Performing Arts Building and the different performing spaces inside the building. Nevin said the funds generated by larger donations will be used to establish an endowment to support the performing arts for years to come. 

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