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Q&A: Jose Camacho on providing youth with cultural opportunities
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onSeptember 11, 2023

The community is invited to attend the Celebration of Arts and Culture on Sept. 16 at 7pm at the Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts. Presented by Activities 4 All, Ballet Folklórico Ollin, Estrellas de Esperanza, Grupo Folklórico Los Cocuyos and the White Hawk Indian Council for Children, this event is a fundraiser for the Watsonville Center for the Arts.

We spoke with Jose Camacho, executive director of Activities 4 All, about the event, the Watsonville Center for the Arts, and his dedication to youth and their families.

What will people experience at the Celebration of Arts and Culture?

The community will feel the beauty of how we’ve all been working together to put on this event. They will see the cultural diversity that exists within the Mexican culture. People of all ages will perform—mariachi music, folklórico, Aztec dances and more. It will be like a music and dance history of Mexico. It’s a family-friendly, affordable fundraiser for the Watsonville Center for the Arts, where each group teaches classes and rehearses. We’re raising money to replace the dance floor in the main rehearsal room. It’s a way to support the center that supports us.

What is Activities 4 All’s connection with the Watsonville Center for the Arts?

We teach mariachi and folklórico dancing there every week. About 80 people come there to learn, and then they can practice at home. Whole families come. When they participate together, it is even better. Most people come through registering for Activities4All at Mintie White Elementary, but others come from Salinas to participate in what we do at the Center. Everyone is welcome! We invite people to observe and then sign up for classes if they like.

Activities 4 All is also part of the Arts Council’s Elevate Grant cohort (a three-year organizational development program), which meets in the Center. For me, it’s a dream to join together and listen to the ideas of each organization. Janet Johns of Esperanza del Valle was my mentor when I started as a teacher. And now we’re peers and partners! We’re all trying to support specific groups, and we can connect them to other organizations that can offer them something else. It’s not a competition—we work together.