In 1968, the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts was established as an arts education center for youth in Richmond's infamous "Iron Triangle." Two years ago, it got a radical renovation thanks to a $16 million urban renewal capital campaign. Designed by architect Mark Cavagnero — who's also responsible for San Francisco's snazzy new SFJAZZ Center — the new space maintains the building's 1920 Beaux-Arts facade but incorporates floor-to-ceiling windows on the first floor supported by massive steel cross beams — which both display the performers inside and create a connection to Richmond's historic WWII shipyards. The East Bay Center for Performing Arts teaches African-American, classical European, Laotian, and Central Mexican music and dance, as well as theater, new media, and improvisational poetry, and features exhibitions by established artists. Though its physical home has transformed, the center's impact hasn't wavered over the past 45 years — enabling youth marginalized by poverty and violence to create a better life for themselves through the study of the performing arts.
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