Since 2010, Rhythmix has produced an Island Arts Concert and Workshop series, bringing the music and culture of islands around the world (Cuba, Japan, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Indonesia, Hawaii and the U.S.) to the island of Alameda. In 2012, Rhythmix received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to broaden and deepen the scope of its Island Arts Program. The grant enabled Rhythmix to partner with the Alameda Boys and Girls Club (ABGC) and Girls Inc. of the Island City (Girls Inc). Artists who were part of the Island Arts Festival were subsidized to teach free workshops at the two facilities, and youth plus family members from these two organizations were given the opportunity to attend and join in the evening performances of the artists at no cost as well.
Over the past five years, Rhythmix has offered free Island Arts workshops to youth at Girls Inc. ABGC, and the Alameda Music Project, with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, On Ensemble, Melanie DeMore, Maze Daiko, Patrick Landeza, Halau Makana, Ensohza and members of the Brass Menazeri Ensemble. Rhythmix also offered free percussion demo-workshops with Latin jazz artist John Santos, inviting both the Oakland and Alameda chapters of Girls Inc. to participate, along with students from ABGC, Alameda High School, Alameda Community Learning Center, Lincoln Middle School and the Encinal High School jazz program.
With many participants coming from households with incomes below the federal poverty level, engagement in the Island Arts workshop series provided a unique opportunity to engage in interactive music, dance and percussion settings. Attending a live performance is also a special event in the lives of many of the youth and their families.
Through the Performance, Arts & Learning and the Island Arts Concert & Workshop Series, Rhythmix provides meaningful, free arts education program to children and youth who might not otherwise have access to enrichment and instructional programs in music and dance. As these programs feature artistic traditions that are reflective of the diversity of our community, Rhythmix’s arts education programming provides students and families with enhanced understanding of and appreciation for the cultural traditions of their friends and neighbors, forging a spirit of togetherness and unity that is beneficial to the long-term health of our communities.