Arts alliance teaches guitar basics to Sacramento school students

Students at Sacramento’s Albert Einstein middle school will be the first to get guitar lessons through their school district’s relationship with Sacramento’s new Clara Midtown arts center.

The non-profit arts center opened this year after a multi-year fund-raising effort and the Sacramento City Unified School District agreed to lease the former school site to the arts center for $1 for 40 years, allowing for on-going collaborations. Several other tenants offer scholarship for Sac City students. This is the first to be offered at the school site, allowing more students to participate.

Music education is “hit and miss” at Sac City schools, leaving generally fewer music education opportunities available to students these days, said Janet Weeks, a spokeswoman for the district.

“The partnership with Clara has enormous potential,” Weeks said.

Through the 10-week introduction to music students enrolled in the after-school program will learn the basics, have a guitar to take home and will be expected to play a simple song by its completion. The training is being provided by Sacramento Preparatory Music Academy, one of seven arts non-profit sharing the former school site at 2420 N Street.

Sixteen students – limited by the number of guitars – are expected to participate in the first offering of the program.

“We are ecstatic that the vision of the partnership between the City of Sacramento, SCUSD, and CLARA is coming to fruition,” said Megan Wygant, CLARA Executive Director.

The Sacramento Ballet, another tenant, regularly works with the district, Wyant said. Clara Midtown is also home to Alliance Francaise, Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange, Capital Stage, McKeever School of Irish Dance and Sacramento Preparatory Music Academy. Wyant said some tenants are planning collaborations. All tenants will participate in an upcoming summer camp, she said.

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch