(includes excerpts from the article written by Dayna Straehley and published in the Press-Enterprise on 10/26/12)
The new Center for Social Justice & Civil Liberties;
photo by PE staff writer Dayna Straehley
RCC’s Culinary Arts Academy, the future Coil School for the Arts and a gallery showcasing local civil rights leaders are featured in a planned Renaissance Block.
The projects, which include a rooftop pavilion where culinary students can cater special events and a midsize performing arts venue, will attract people downtown, said Virginia Blumenthal, a college district trustee who has led committees planning the projects. “I’m very excited about it,” she said.
So far, only the Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties occupies the block. Funded by Riverside redevelopment pass-through money, the roughly 12,000-square-foot center is housed in a renovated Spanish baroque style bank building and will include displays and videos about Riverside civil rights pioneers and preserved art pieces showcased there. It is open by appointment and times can be scheduled by calling 951-222-8854 or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The remaining phases are in the planning stages, with construction scheduled to begin in 2014 after a delay for required state approval of the plans. Completion is anticipated for May 30, 2016, which Riverside City College President Cynthia Azari said would coincide with RCC’s centennial celebration.
The school of the arts has been in the planning stages about 20 years, Riverside Unified School District board member Chuck Beaty said. Beaty served on a planning committee when he was on the City Council. The project has evolved, he said.
A combination of funding Henry W. Coil Jr., of Riverside, dedicated $5 million for programming for the arts school in memory of his parents, Henry W. Coil Sr. and Alice Edna Coil.
In addition to a performance space that seats approximately 450, the 34,700-square-foot arts school will also include classrooms, practice rooms, a choral room, band room, orchestra room, a piano lab, and a state-of-the-art recording studio.
The Culinary Arts Academy will include a demonstration kitchen and street-level dining room, which Blumenthal said gives students practical experience preparing and serving breakfasts and lunches.
By bringing people downtown, the projects will benefit all of Riverside, Blumenthal said.
RCC’s commitment to integrating fine arts, culture and history into the Downtown helps solidify Riverside’s place as a center for creativity and lifelong learning while creating interesting, inviting places and venues for students, residents and visitors.
To read the full Press-Enterprise article that includes additional details on the project, funding and timing, click here.
RCCD Community Excellence projects
RCCD Center for Social Justice & Civil Liberties
RCC Culinary Academy