Today, CLARA announced a series of programs to provide emerging artists in Sacramento with professional career training and support. The professional development program launches with an 8-session course entitled “The Art of Leadership + Teaching Artistry (ALTA),” which will provide working artists with the tools, vocabulary, and training to become teaching artists in Sacramento-area schools.

Teaching artists are professional, working, artists in the community who integrate their art form and skills into school-day, after-school, community, and social service programs, usually on a short-term basis. In a time when budget restrictions mean only 37% of Sacramento County-area public schools are able to offer in-school arts programs, teaching artists provide schools with a flexible way to integrate essential arts into the curriculum…but trained teaching artists are in short supply.

“Being a successful arts teacher in a studio space is very different than being successful in a classroom environment,” explains Emili Danz, CLARA’s education outreach director. “Student behavior is different, the space is often varied and unpredictable, and the volume of students is much higher. If arts education is happening during the school day, there are also state education standards and partnership with a classroom teacher to be considered. ALTA workshops will provide artists with strategies to establish classroom culture, build a successful curriculum, and to partner effectively with classroom teachers.”

While participation in the workshop series does not guarantee employment as a teaching artist, participation in the series will provide opportunities for would-be teaching artists to connect with organizations seeking to hire in this area.

The first workshop, “BUILDING CLASSROOM CULTURE WITH CONFIDENCE, CHARACTER + CHARISMA” will occur March 28 from 11am-1pm; subsequent workshops on teaching artistry will follow on a monthly basis through October. All classes take place in The Auditorium at CLARA (1425 24th St, Sacramento CA 95816). Tuition is $20 for a single workshop or $150 for all eight. For more information and to register for workshops, visit


by Kendall Moffett and Jennifer Barraza

The wardrobe department of Sacramento Ballet opened its doors to the interns of CLARA for an inside scoop on the process of making costumes for the shows of the season. As you might imagine, designing costumes is stimulating, but is also exacting. However, Theresa Kimbrough and Zandra Manner, the costumers at Sacramento Ballet, expressed that the hard work they put towards their job is worth it – they find the work incredibly fulfilling. 


According to the design team, making costumes for The Nutcracker is a year-long process. Once the show ends for the season, preparation for the next one begins: Manner and Kimbrough go back to the drawing board to start creating and altering costumes. We learned that it takes around a week to create a tutu; you can only imagine the hours that go into the craft. With all of this work being done throughout the year, the big collection of costumes in the wardrobe room is rented out to other ballet companies or used by Sacramento Ballet dancers for Beer and Ballet, a showcase where company dancers perform personally choreographed pieces (coming February 2020). 

The costumers have a lot of freedom when it comes to design, there are no strict guidelines to follow. Aside from the priority to make sure that the dancers can perform with no trouble, most design inspirations come from each show’s unique music choices and era. Behind the scenes, the wardrobe department plays a bigger role than you might think, their efforts help the Sacramento Ballet’s productions run seamlessly.

For Beer and Ballet ticket information, visit Sacramento Ballet’s website by clicking here.


By: Kendall Moffett

CLARA tenant Southside Unlimited creates a safe and encouraging environment that sees people with developmental challenges as full citizens. For Southside Unlimited, providing adults with disabilities opportunities to express themselves artistically is critical. To support this aim, the organization hosts a music and performing arts program that is home to the band The Early Birds. For Sacramento audiences and on their podcast “Southcast Internet Radio,” the band performs original songs as well as covers of songs from the ’60s up to today.

With most of the members of The Early Birds playing music since childhood, it makes sense that music is something that comes from the heart. The current band mentor, Geno, says it is a bit of a mystery as to why he found himself on Craigslist looking for another job. After realizing how much he missed teaching, he spontaneously sent in the materials needed for a music instructor position. With many years of teaching at Merryhill School and a few years teaching at Sacramento City College under his belt, Geno knew he had a user-friendly way of teaching students of all ages. Now, after six months of teaching at Southside Unlimited, both Geno and the band are grateful he is here.

Since their first performance with Geno as a mentor, the band says they have not been nervous to play on stage together. Matthew, the band’s bass keyboard player, plays from heart and believes that music is a way of doing God’s work. The band’s vocalist, Joe, says he is focused on entertaining the whole crowd. Even after hearing these reasons for The Early Birds’ fear-free performances, you may still be asking yourself how all the band members are fearless. Everyone gets stage fright, right? To this, The Early Birds would probably answer: not at Southside Unlimited, not with wonderful instructors like Geno, and not in this supportive and motivating environment.




by: Kendall Moffett

Since she was a child, Nicole McKeever has been intrigued by Irish dance. From the influence of Irish music played by her parents, to taking part in dance with her childhood friends, Nicole has been drawn to the energy and community of Irish dance for as long as she can remember. After many years of practice and competition in New Jersey, Nicole was given the opportunity to be a 2012 participant of River Dance. When she finished touring, Nicole settled down in Sacramento where she decided to follow her dream of opening her own dance school. Bouncing back and forth between studios was not ideal – it made it harder for the school to grow. With this in mind, Nicole began searching for a dance space. A few weeks into the search, she came across CLARA. Soon after, Nicole met with CLARA’s property owners over coffee and the next thing she knew she was signing papers for a lease. At CLARA, Nicole has a feeling of safety as a business owner; in her first year at CLARA her class sizes doubled.

Nicole has it taken upon herself to host a feis, an Irish folk festival featuring competitions and traditional Irish music and dancing, after considering both Sacramento’s competitive dance environment and the importance that performance plays in student’s learning. From firsthand experience, Nicole knows that student’s skills improve quickly when they have a goal to work toward. By hosting a feis, the McKeever School of Irish Dance is hoping to nourish the community of Irish dance and help it flourish. With judges that are a part CLRG – the oldest and largest governing body for competitive Irish step – McKeever’s commitment to building a fair environment for local dancers and students is clear. With judges from CLRG, only the best dancers will become champions.

With dancers actively searching for competitions to take part in, the feis will surely be a success. To encourage people from outside the Sacramento region to participate, the feis will be advertised across media focusing on Irish dancing culture. Local businesses can also benefit from the feis, with sponsorships available for organizations to purchase. Each level of sponsorship is associated with a level of exposure for the feis audience. As the levels increase, each sponsoring organization’s visibility at the feis is enhanced for Sacramento, and visiting, audiences.