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Celebrating Arts, Music and Design

By Riley McDermid

The promise of EPACENTER ARTS, an art, design and music center for youth slated to open in the heart of East Palo Alto in 2020, is tantalizingly close to fruition. The result of an intensive, community-driven planning process that began in 2009, it addresses the need for high-quality, professional art services for children and young adults in a diverse area that’s nestled among wealthy Peninsula cities but hasn’t always benefited from the region’s booming tech economy.

Supporters: John & Marcia Goldman Foundation. A capital campaign will be announced in 2019.

Inspiration: “It’s important to us to do something that was by the community, not just for the community,” says John Goldman, president of the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation. “We believe art can transform lives and that all kids deserve to have a special place for creative expression. East Palo Alto’s cultural and artistic heritage, and its talented youth are sources of power and strength. Together, we are building an artistic home in the city that will empower the young people of East Palo Alto and increase opportunities to inspire their imagination and engagement.”

Impact: “EPACENTER takes everyone’s ideas seriously and puts real resources behind those ideas to ensure that the community develops over multiple generations and iterations,” Nadine Rambeau, executive director, says. “There is a rule that says it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. EPACENTER goes beyond creative place making as it provides the time and space for young people to develop.”

How the Goldmans got involved: Generations of Goldmans have been instilled since childhood with an understanding of both the responsibilities and the joys of philanthropy. Marcia and John established their foundation in 1997, compelled to respond to widening economic disparities and the fact that too many families were being excluded from the economic well-being of the region and the nation. Their first priority, therefore, was helping under-served youth and their families achieve better access to services and opportunities that improve their lives. Among their other priorities is a strong commitment to the arts, with the goal of ensuring access for all. These twin passions converged when the youth of East Palo Alto expressed their strong desire for an arts center that would truly be their own.

Budget: $50 million for 2018.

How you can get involved: EPACENTER ARTS welcomes donations in support of its building project, the first art and music center in East Palo Alto. To donate visit

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