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Meet Robert Slack of Citrus College, Visual & Performing Arts Program in Glendora

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Slack.

Please kick things off for us, we’d love to hear the story.
Citrus College is a small community college in Glendora, CA. As the Dean of the Visual & Performing Arts I have helped to grow the arts department from a small, basically non-existent program, to a thriving Visual & Performing Arts community. Our performing arts students take their skills out on the road performing for events like corporate parties and weddings in venues such as Country Clubs and convention centers. They even tour to Hawaii, Asia and Europe each year. Our big band, The Blue Note Orchestra, just returned from Hawaii after performing with Grammy Award winning artist, Melissa Manchester, who is an artist in residence here at Citrus.

Our Visual Arts students have the opportunity to create works that are displayed all throughout the City of Glendora. They are being taught entrepreneurial skills and how to incorporate their art so that in the future they have career options.

We have a full, state of the art recording studio and program as well as a 3 story Visual Arts building with access to a photography studio, ceramics studio and several drawing and painting studios.

All of the money made from performance fees, goes into an account, which allows us to not only fund the program (filling in the gaps where government funding is being cut) and provide scholarships for our students to help keep them in school.

The training students in our program receive is unmatched. We teach them the skills they need to have to continue a career in the arts, whether it be on or off the stage…in or out of the studio. When they leave these walls, they are able to find jobs in their fields and/or transfer to outstanding universities.

All of this is unheard of in the Junior College world. The opportunities these students have at Citrus College are unmatched even in the UC University circuit.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In 2008, the recession hit this country. With that came budget cuts. What programs are the first to be cut when there are troubled times? That’s right…the arts. Generally, once the financial issues are resolved, budgets are restored. That was not the case for us at Citrus College. We still maintain our program on the recessed budgets from 2008. This is why our outside performances that generate an income are so valuable. We are able to provide our students with scholarships to pay their tuitions when their parents are no longer able, or when they find themselves in difficult situations. We can buy the expensive equipment and tools required to run an arts program. Without this extra income, our students would not be able to flourish as they have been for the last several years.

Please tell us about Citrus College, Visual & Performing Arts Program.
Citrus College, Visual & Performing Arts is a program taking up approximately 1/5 of the college campus. It is generally unheard of for a junior college to have such a renowned and popular arts program. We have a state of the art recording facility, used by artists all across Los Angeles. Artists such as the Pentatonix, Gwen Stefani, Melissa Manchester, Stevie Wonder, Dion Warwick, Al Jarreau, and Barry Manilow. We even have a gold record from the Pentatonix album!

There is a 1400 seat proscenium theatre, called the Haugh Performing Arts Center (www.haughpac.com) where the students are able to put their skills to use! There is also a 100 seat flexible theatre that is used for drama classes and plays. We have a state of the art dance studio for ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and yoga. And finally, a 3-story state of the art Visual Arts building, where students study ceramics, drawing and painting, photography, art history, and graphic design. A brand new Art Gallery is also in this building. And those are just the facilities!

Students come to this program and learn how to be professionals in their industry. Students in the performing arts like the renowned Citrus Singers, the pop band, Night Shift, or the Big Band, The Blue Note Orchestra, regularly perform at venues across Southern California. Whether it is a wedding, a street festival, corporate party or event or a tour in Hawaii, these students awe and excite their guests, and always get asked back again.

We have certificated programs in Recording Engineering and Emerging Theatre Technology. These students are getting the skills and experience that they need to go out into the world and make a living.

Alums of our programs have gone on to run sound at the Grammy’s, play drums with Neil Young, sing back up for Sting, run crew for multitudes of live concerts. We have ex-students working on cruise ships, theme parks and even on Broadway!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
There is nothing I would have done differently. I am incredibly proud of the faculty, staff and student work in this program.

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
Maddison October
Jacqueline Torres
Ricky Lin
Kristen Campbell

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